Youth Outreach In North Korea (2015)

Ormston House Gallery Booth
at Supermarket Art Fair, Stockholm, Sweden.

‘Free’, as in ‘Freedom’, Not ‘Free’ as in ‘Free Hugs’.

With what we now know about the collusion between big data and governments around the world, the era of cyber-utopianism is finally dead. We are now aware that the very infrastructure of the Internet is political, and that it is a spying mechanism for legacy power. For over 20 years, we have been naive about how we use connected technologies. We were sold these gadgets and apps as if they were ‘free’, as in ‘free hugs’. They told us they were ‘disruptive technologies’, which sounded sexy, but this was disruption of our freedom. No one explicitly told us there were logs of every move and click we make online, and they sure as hell didn’t tell us why we should never let anyone else keep these logs for us. Since the Snowden leaks began in 2013, we can no longer claim ignorance of our exploitation online. The idea that technology will bring about new types of democracy, where every citizen on the network has a voice to participate in the discourse and function of society, has been stifled by big-data and government surveillance. It is now our duty to learn how to control our own data. How to safeguard it. How to own it. And KryptoKids are here to help!

YOUTH OUTREACH IN NORTH KOREA (YOINK!) is a performance and presentation of new offline artworks by Irish artist, Alan Butler. Part geek-activism, part fan-art, KryptoKidz (2015) will be on-going performance at the booth and around Supermarket 2015. Inspired by ‘CryptoKids’ a website and selection of cartoon characters developed by the National Security Agency (NSA) to cultivate children’s interest in cryptography, the performance is a quasi-cosplay and tribute, where the artist and OH gallerists will be dressing up as cyber-libertarian woodland creatures. Evangelists against online corporate and government surveillance, politically the KryptoKids aims to subvert the pretence of mathematical purity of the NSA cohort. CyrptoKids use cryptography to get the bad guys, but KryptoKids use sharing and Free and Open Source Software to protect themselves from the the bad guys.