Do you know that the British and US embassies in Berlin have active spy stations capable of listening to all communication in the area known as government district? Their spying structures are physically hidden in the buildings of the embassies and are comprised of antenas and other devices capable of capturing communication signals, even from live mobile phone conversations.
Artists Mathias Jud and Christoph Wachter were invited by the Swiss embassy, just next door to US and UK buildings, to perform a work of art that would question the obscure powers of NSA and GCHQ in a very ironic way. Their answer to the invitation was a project called “can you hear me?” with anonymous open connection to wifi network through antenas installed on the roof of the Swiss embassy, and the possibility for anyone to talk back to NSA and GCHQ. In Jud’s own words: “Well, if they’re listening … let’s talk to them.”
Mathias Jud did an interesting TED talk about this and other installations, and said that for the “can you hear me?” project, they received more than 15,000 messages, including:
“@NSA My neighbours are noisy. Please send a drone strike.”
Day 73: Do you want to talk to NSA and GCHQ?
Today’s message was delivered with the help of a very special guest, who definitely controls most of my present feelings…
Day 49: “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past” (G. Orwell)
This message was inspired by this article in the guardian: “Attempts to stay anonymous on the web will only put the NSA on your trail” (by John Naughton)
Day 44: Jeremy, would you look at me differently if I used Tor or encrypted my emails? The NSA would…
A different visit today, surprised by the presence of Elaad Yain, who apparently knew about the project and kindly volunteered to be in the picture with today’s message.
By the way, the message was an allusion to the live discussion around the references to the massively surveilled world we live in. Is it better referred to Kafka, Orwell or Huxley? This interesting debate can be followed here and here.
Day 42: Is our broadly surveilled world a “Kafkaesque” or “Orwellian” world? (www.bit.ly/kohsurv)
Experimenting with other media. It hasn’t worked very well, though!
Day 26: Jeremy, forget about Big Brother. You should fear Little Brothers
So, webcam is back to normal position…
Day 21: UK government wants to snoop into our browsing history, Jeremy. #IPBill