Notes on Hiding

Image Weeknote Workshop

© Akademie Schloss Solitude

Benjamin Weiss from TU Berlin is currently fellow at the art, science & business program at Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart. During his three-months stay at the Akademie – conducted within the Akademie's cooperation with the Hybrid Plattform –, he participates in various organized and spontaneous events.

At Akademie Schloss Solitude, the latest event of a whole series dedicated to an interdisciplinary approach on authorship in the current century was the symposium on “Economies of Authorship: Ownership and Dispossession” (November 10 -12, 2016). In addition to lectures, presentations and debates, there was the workshop “Notes on Hiding” held by Yashas Shetty, co-founder of Hackteria Collective and a current fellow at the academy. In two sessions, we discussed and experimented with tools to “Hide, Share, Broadcast, and Listen”.

What would participants like to hide from? And why? It became evident that not every work, text or production should be tracked back to their authors or collaborators. For a publishing scientist, this need for anonymity was of course surprising and emphasized the opportunity the academy offers as a place of meeting and sharing, open to people from all over the world. From the perspective of artists and authors, current established devices and services should support the needs of privacy and control of content and messages. In the framework of the workshop, a small and cheap single-board computer called “Raspberry Pi Model 2” was set up by the participants to work as a simple local radio transmitter. A local owncloud server was also used, allowing to keep control over one's own data as an alternative to having to rely on big players.

From a computer science perspective, the activity of setting up such services should not take more than a few minutes. The process of distributing information via the tools available and the exploration of options of their usage sparked a lively discussion amongst the workshop participants. They started to share their personal experiences as authors and producers and discussed the current challenges posed through digital communication and data storage to creative people, especially outside western Europe. The questions around ownership with all facets of credit, copyrights, licenses and more, highlighted during the presentations, were also present during the more playful atmosphere of the workshop. After the short and enjoyable seven hours, the workshop ended with a presentation of brief pieces of electronic music, visual animations, and short range radio.

– Benjamin Weiss