Saturday, November 28, 2015

Spy for Art's Sake

Spy vs. Spy: Tech-Savvy Swiss Duo Bitnik Refines the Art of Espionage

‘I’ve hijacked your surveillance camera. How about a game of chess?”
The words filled a closed-circuit television screen that only seconds before had shown commuters in London’s Charing Cross station.

Whichever security guard read the message soon saw it replaced by a chessboard and the words: “You are white. I am black. Call me or text me to make your move. This is my phone number: 075 8246 0851.”

In the heart of the world’s most surveilled city, two artists were registering their polite protest with the help of a laptop and an interfering transmitter. Carmen Weisskopf and Domagoj Smoljo, a Swiss team known as !Mediengruppe Bitnik, have been co-opting the spy’s arsenal to practice their own, artistic style of counter-espionage...


Artists and spies are loners, operating on the margins. They observe, gather intelligence, surgically intervene, and detect and disseminate artifice. They try to stay ahead of everyone else. more