As a member of the hacker collective F.A.T. Lab, known for their radical prank projects, the US artist Addie Wagenknecht balances pop culture and technology in her work. Her subversive, ironic approach questions the traditional art world, but also current issues of digital culture.
Addie wants to make female hackers more visible, against all prejudices, and include more of their work in digital historiography – so that they may never be made invisible, or forgotten like Ada Lovelace. So Wagenknecht founded the Deep Lab: a collective of female artists, programmers, hackers, journalists and scientists, exploring the hidden potential of the Deep Web – that part of the Internet where search engines will never lead you – as a place for creativity and critique. The main focus is on issues like surveillance, privacy, coding, anonymity and hacking. In December 2014, the group published their report, Deep. They also offer an accompanying video documentation presenting their collective activities. An exhibition is already planned for later this year.
As Wagenknecht sees it, hacking is an individual right and not a weapon – something she fights for in her home country in the US and in Europe, her chosen home. She claims that sweeping judgments of hackers, framed as malicious or criminal, deny us the possibility of critique in politics, society and culture that hacking offers as an art form. As a result, fundamental freedoms are effectively paralyzed. In her first talk at re:publica – this much Addie has already revealed, unicorns can be expected to play an important role.