A Google executive once said: “If you want to liberate a society just give them the Internet.” But how do you liberate a society that already has the Internet? A new generation has taken to the Internet to defend the right to governance without secrets—from Bradley Manning and WikiLeaks, to the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative and the revelations of Edward Snowden. A wide-ranging and multifaceted coalition is now busy revealing the militarized dystopia at the core of the modern state. The possibilities the Internet offers for self-organization and the sharing of information are undermined by the economically motivated power structure of the hidden, which does not fit with our democratic humanitarian principles. Metahaven (@mthvn), a Dutch design and research collective led by Vinca Kruk and Daniel van der Velden, has vocally supported WikiLeaks through their graphic design work. In this exhibition document cum manifesto, Metahaven’s research and design work is translated into visual proposals, infographics, garments, short film and video interviews with internet activists and experts who weigh in on the ambiguity, contradictions and potential around the production and distribution of information. Contributions by media theorist Benjamin Bratton, intellectual property specialist James Grimmelmann, programmer Vinay Gupta, information activist Smári McCarthy, self-described “hacker” Eleanor Saitta and architect Liam Young. The book accompanies eponymous exhibitions of Metahaven’s work at Bureau Europa in Maastricht and Future Gallery in Berlin.
Softcover, Perfect-bound, 288 pages, 5 inches x 7 3/4 inches, Sternberg Press 2016.