Idealistic conceptualisations of online networks and their connectivity are easily contrasted with their real-world limitations. At HKW Berlin, The Eternal Network, presents 20 contemporary pieces of artwork that confront the role of the internet and the network amid today’s landscape of human, technological and environmental transformation. Curated by Kristoffer Gansing, the interactive exhibit is a stirring synthesia nothing short of the Transmediale experience.
Just how big is the internet today? This is posed by Louise Drulhe’s “Critical Atlas of the Internet”, a display of theories, critical essays, and diagrams that dissect the internet’s vast infrastructure and the interactions between nations, corporations, and the internet’s physical geographies. The result is a mind-boggling visualisation of the internet’s structure that ultimately places us and our data as its end product. But if unrestricted network access was once a utopian idea, today’s reality paints a different picture, with access to the network often prevented by nation-states. In Guo Cheng’s “The Net Wanderer – a Tour of Suspended Handshakes”, become a virtual firewall tourist as you attempt to enter any websites of your choice from a VPN IP address in Shanghai, China. If the Great Firewall of China (GFW) blocks access, you will be taken to Google Chrome’s (in)famous no-internet T-Rex-jumping game. After you’ve finished, a wall-mounted engraving machine etches your name and score along with the GFW node’s IP address.
From start to finish, The Eternal Network submerges you deep within the heart of the network and all its transformational possibilities. Whether these possibilities offer a glimmer of hope for human interconnection, however, is entirely up to you.
The Eternal Network | Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Tiergarten. Through Mar 1.