Using Art to Critique Government Spying of Citizens

Thanks to the efforts of Edward Snowden we know that illegal, immoral, and downright creepy spying by governments has been going on for years. It turns out that democratic governments around the world regular do mass surveillance of their people, something that authoritarian states are known for. Citizens have fought the spying in courts and artists have been fighting the spying the streets. This TED Talk looks at some work down in Germany (which is quite familiar with state-sponsnered spying).

In 2013, the world learned that the NSA and its UK equivalent, GCHQ, routinely spied on the German government. Amid the outrage, artists Mathias Jud and Christoph Wachter thought: Well, if they’re listening … let’s talk to them. With antennas mounted on the roof of the Swiss Embassy in Berlin’s government district, they set up an open network that let the world send messages to US and UK spies listening nearby. It’s one of three bold, often funny, and frankly subversive works detailed in this talk, which highlights the world’s growing discontent with surveillance and closed networks.