Hashes to Ashes

Chair: Tatiana Bazzichelli

Whistleblowers, hackers, artists and activists get into dialogue to reflect on the art of disclosure, as a strategy of awareness and a modality to expose hidden bugs in the socio-political systems. Can we imagine a sustainable way to act in the digital info-sphere? Is it still possible to claim: “Information wants to be free”?

Hashes to Ashes focuses on the current condition of information politics and the strategies of self-awareness in the digital and physical sphere. Digital rights such as freedom of speech, online privacy, accessibility of information, have been progressively burned down to ashes, generating a landscape of increasing surveillance. The recent debate on the PRISM, XKeyscore and TEMPORA Internet surveillance programs based on the Edward Snowden's release of NSA material are the symbol of increasing geopolitical control, which is changing the practice of hacking and activism. New identities emerge: whistleblowers, cypherpunks, hacktivists and individuals that bring attention to abuses of government and large corporations, making the act of “leaking” central part of their strategy. We want to highlight the current pervasive process of silencing - and metaphorically reducing to ashes - activities which expose misconducts in political, technological and economical systems, as well as to reflect on what burns underneath such process, via the direct engagement of theoreticians and practitioners that advocate a different scenario. Whistleblowers, hackers, artists and activists, that make of the art of disclosing their main practice, reflect on the often hidden structures that compose and live within and across our present society and everyday life. Their actions contribute to generate a new frontier for the arts, producing new imaginaries, viral interventions, and new stream of consciousness in the net and beyond.