"Can you hear me?"

Hello NSA, hello GCHQ. Berlin speaking here.

Antenna on the Academy of Arts in Berlin showing Reichstag and Brandenburg Gate
Antennas on the Academy of Arts in Berlin

Messages can be sent to the intelligence agencies on the frequencies that are intercepted by the NSA and GCHQ. An independent mesh network in Berlin's Government District recaptured the virtual communication space. A collective conversation space in which all have equal rights has been taking the space of secret wiretapping.

Antennas on the Swiss Embassy, with view to the Federal Chancellery
Antennas on the Swiss Embassy in Berlin, in the Background the German Federal Chancellery

Between the US Embassy and the British Embassy, Christoph Wachter and Mathias Jud have designed up the art project "Can you hear me?". A year ago, due to the revelations of Edward Snowden, this very place became a political focal point. From there, the British and the Americans were spying on the government and the people in Berlin.

participate in the open network
Participate in the open network.

Public protests went on without consequences. Instead, oppression became rather widespread. Ironically, the digital media means of expression that were considered, at the beginning of the Egyptian, Tunisian, or Turkish rebellions as promising tools were perverted into their opposite. The digital space which should allow democratic debate is fundamentally manipulated. Because of that, cultural, political, and communicative structures are also shaken and it leads to an experience not unlike the one experienced by people even under authoritarian and restrictive regimes, and a grueling dependence and speechlessness arises.

Antenna tower on the Academy of Arts in Berlin
Antenna tower on the Academy of Arts in Berlin

Exhibited at: Swiss Embassy Berlin; Academy of Arts Berlin
Supported by: Swiss Cultural Foundation Pro Helvetia
Awarded by: Golden Nica - Prix Ars Electronica, Linz, Austria
Can you hear me?