Group Exhibition, Rijeka

The Black Chamber

Surveillance, paranoia, invisibility & the internet


How did the internet go from the utopian free-for-all, open source heaven, libertarian last frontier to the current state of permanent surveillance, exhibitionism and paranoia?

This duplicity is the underlying thread that links the artists, activists, and researchers who will participate in The Black Chamber, an exhibition and a symposium curated by The Influencers (ES), produced by Drugo More (HR) in partnership with Aksioma (SI) and hosted, respectively, by Mali salon and Filodrammatica in Rijeka.

Developed through ongoing research on these subjects by internationally renown artist duo Eva & Franco Mattes and researcher and curator Bani Brusadin, The Black Chamber aims at discussing the delicate and often awkward role of art and imagination in the age of mass surveillance, stressing the multiple connections between post-studio art and independent research, grassroots reverse engineering, and new forms of political activism in the age of networks.

The Black Chamber exhibition is a selection of some of the most significant works by a generation of artists and activists who devise both technological and social tactics to peek into contemporary phenomena of surveillance and paranoia, including the ambiguity of massive voyeurism and actual systems of corporate or state control over citizens.

Operating occasionally at the center, though more often at the periphery, of this huge, mysterious, always slippery, and constantly changing patchwork of forces, we find the post-studio artist as well as the political dissident, the unruly technologist or the unconventional journalist. This passionate tangle of people sets out to suggest alternative and always ephemeral ways of disseminating information and countering automatic processes of control over bodies and collective fantasies. They know that no existing map can be fully trusted.

What is actually at stake is both technology’s role in shaping global culture and people’s opportunity for technological, social, and even aesthetical empowerment. Adding the precision of investigative journalists or hackers to the passion of explorers or superusers, the artists and activists invited to The Black Chamber translate problematic histories associated with the governance of the infrastructure and the control over people’s imagination into subtle visual forms.

This project is part of the event Mine, yours, ours #11 (Surveillance).

The exhibition was first presented at the Škuc gallery and the first part of the conference was hold at Kino Šiška in Ljubljana.

7 – 30 April 2016
Mali salon

Curated by: Eva & Franco Mattes, Bani Brusadin


Jacob Appelbaum & Ai Weiwei
Zach Blas
James Bridle
Émilie Brout & Maxime Marion
Simon Denny
Jill Magid
Laura Poitras