Believe me was commissioned by the Whitney Museum of American Art in 2017. The work references the familiar sight of a mobile phone's broken screen by overlaying the visual effect of cracks on a series of images that can be manipulated by the viewer and loaded successively by refreshing the browser. Using the seemingly damaged screen as a central metaphor, Believe me evokes the distortions that digital technologies impose on our experience of the world and each other. Failed or failing pixels change the colors, spaces, and meanings of the project's imagery which is politically charged in some cases, and in others captures the vernacular of the online environment through familiar interface elements or Internet folklore. The slightly glitched, broken, readable yet abstracted imagery of Believe me — the most often used two words by Donald Trump according to sociolinguistics Jennifer Sclafani's analysis for CNN — questions the status of reality as it is mediated through our screens in a fake news and post-truth environment.
Waiting for Mr. Right
series of cakes, unique
alabaster, silicone, acrylic paint and candles
Destroyed wedding cakes are based on images Wagenknecht sourced from Pinterest. The series represent a fantasy of the web, where images are compiled and perfected in order to convey ideal versions of ourselves. When the cakes are actually made, their fail under their own weights or are flipped and warped by Wagenknecht to highlight the failure of translating online fantasies into reality. No single cake is ever recreated, each is unique.
"Ghost" is a series created in collaboration by Addie Wagenknecht and Aiala Hernando, about hope and disappointment. The title is a reference to the slang term "ghosting" which is when a person disappears without explanation after dating, sexting, or a short-term relationship, leading to confusion and disappointment about the loss of a temporary fantasy. Semi-opaque tulle and organza rest lightly on top of flowers, perhaps those gifted by a lover, in various states of decay. The images capture the progression of hope and excitement to disappointment, resulting in mourning and the realization that one must start over again.
Iran is an ongoing series of one of a kind pieces in which Wagenknecht creates a dynamic collaboration with the Nashravaran Journalistic Institute. This branch of the Iranian government manually processes and censors incoming mail in order to follow the government controlled censorship laws around international magazines and books.
Every month for the last year, Wagenknecht sends three unedited Western womens magazines to contacts in the country who have agreed to collaborate under terms of anonymity. The process takes approximately three months for the envelope to be received from Central Europe.
The black ink or in some cases white, is the documentation of the process. No pages “disappear”, but the evidence of interference and the end collaboration between artist and state remains.
Black Hawk Paint is a mechanically assisted series of action paintings that Wagenknecht started in 2007. She creates them with small-scale drone aircraft, and in the process, utilizes simple flight commands such as ‘barrel roll’, ‘take off’ and ‘land’. Among the most recent are works on vellum and canvas that incorporate heat- and UV-sensitive pigments. In her most recent versions, Wagenknecht plays with the notion of interactivity by removing all forms of electronics. The pieces react to the changes of temperature and light within the exhibition space due to the pigments chromic elements. As a result, the works are always morphing and reacting to the environment, and as a result, no piece will never be the same twice.
The Liberator vases are a series of vases composed of 3D prints of the open source Liberator gun, the first 3D modeled, open source handgun made available for download online, utilizing torrent sites. The Liberator gun is multiplied and parametrically modeled to form a recognizable classic vase. The guns are thus deformed, clustered and turned useless, in a way that points to the subversive power of appropriation and creativity but also attempts to morph the gun into an artifact of the network itself. Made in collaboration with Martin Zangerl and Stefan Hechenberger in commission from MU Eindhoven, NL and HeK Basel, CH.
The Internet of Things is series of three sculptures which function or cease functionality depending on their proximity to each other within the gallery. Due to the roombas robotic and automatic nature to clean based on an algorithm, the functionality becomes a dynamic interaction. The items placed on the roomba are used to conceal the wifi hotspot, signal jammer and tor exit node hardware but also play off and comment on cubical spaces, personal spaces within corporate environments. Depending on the roombas proximity to another roomba, cell phone or laptop. The devices will cease to function completely, function with stronger signals or will automatically anonymize the incoming and outgoing network traffic within their range.
Still Alive is a series created in collaboration by Addie Wagenknecht and Aiala Hernando.
The series of three works examines the golden age still life genre from a contemporary perspective designed to tease out the importance of the still life, identify value of time, circumstance, and to encourage humorous encounters within our implied secrets of daily modern life.
1:24 scale Ferrari model cars crash against the base of a podium in Everything you ever wanted. The arc of the vehicles, reads like a motion study and is a reference to Guo-Qiang's 99 taxidermy wolves. In its original Austrian setting the work had very particular connotation. Shown here, at RuaRed Dublin, in conjunction with At least we tried, a public performance piece where visitors eat a three tier wedding cake with only their hands topped with a traditional couple where the head of the groom is replaced by a unicorn, it could be seen as an allegory of feminism, or a misguided definitions of success.
Similar to Asymmetric Love (2013), a chandelier made of CCTV cameras and DSL internet cables, Liberator Rounds (2015) also borrows the form of this iconic, yet banal, lighting fixture. “The Liberator,” the sculpture’s namesake, was the first 3D printed, open source handgun that was widely available to download online. Combining these two forms, the work inserts an artifact of surveillance into our everyday environment.
The Liberator gun is indicative of the the corporatization of the surveillance state, ultimately underscoring that our level of trust in corporations is greater than with one another. Commenting on the cultural climate of mass surveillance, especially our unwitting trust in corporations with our most private information, Wagenknecht writes, “3D [printed] guns are simply a byproduct of this.”
I Quit is a series of public space performances and photo documentation of Wagenknecht in a variety of commercial spaces aimed at femininity during Valentines day. This gesture performance is a rejection of commodities that signify fabricated ideas of femininity and beauty, including Barbie dolls, bouquets of roses, and makeup.
The general approach to the work is a notion of the 'glass ceilings' as a performance piece which comments on failure as a means of social and personal function.
The glass ceiling metaphor was founded in the early 1980s and is usually used to describe invisible barriers ("glass") through which women can see elite positions but cannot reach them ("ceiling"). In contemporary society- the difference is we know the barriers are there, we can measure them down to a data set and classify their sizes, we use metrics and percentages to talk about them. The glass ceiling is a barrier so subtle and so ingrained, it becomes transparent, "Those who do not move do not feel their chains."
In the documentation and the finished pieces, I utilize bullet proof glass panes, and approach them with different methods of breaking them utilized by the modern female: the kiss plays with the notion of using femininity and the female figure, as defined by the notion of the 'female artist' - using my body, enhancing my face, using the lips, nice filters, a selfie like point of view, marks are left but there is no damage. It is a node to a frustration toward the women of the post-internet movement who often rely on their physical appearance as a mode of output.Throwing Rocks is about being a women criticizing the very culture I depend on- so I lose again. The last piece Cracked I used a piece of cement which I continually used in different ways (dropping, throwing, as a hammer) until I was able to get the glass to crack, at the same time I am bleeding and injured by the end- - the catch is, the actual crack, 'a success' , is not shown in the footage, as a comment on the secretive and competitive nature of successful women, who often break themselves in the process of winning. In the final piece- the end result-- its broken, but we do not know how.
Addie Wagenknecht, Artist/Director Deep Lab
Allison Burtch, Researcher/Artist/Activist
Claire Evans, Futures Editor of Motherboard/Vice Magazine
Denise Caruso, Journalist, Senior Research Scholar, CMU EPP
Harlo Holmes, Developer
Ingrid Burrington, Researcher/Artist, Director of metadata for the Guardian
Kate Crawford, Principal Researcher Microsoft Research, Visiting Professor MIT
Jen Lowe, Data Scientist/Researcher/Writer
Jillian York, Director for International Freedom of Expression, EFF
Lindsay Howard, Independent Curator
Madeleine Varner, Artist/Developer
Maral Pourkazemi, Data/Information Visualizer
Runa Sandvik, Privacy/Security Researcher, Tor Project
Simone Browne, Associate Professor, University of Texas at Austin
Hacking technology is a right, not a weapon. Because the deep web is largely void of a female presence—save for sexualized images—female hackers must engage with the future, in order to make our presence in history indelible. And so Deep Lab was born.
Deep Lab is a collaborative group of researchers, artists, writers, engineers, and cultural producers interested in privacy, surveillance, code, art, social hacking, and anonymity. Members of Deep Lab are engaged in ongoing critical assessments of contemporary digital culture and exploit the hidden potential for creative inquiry lying dormant within the deep web. Deep Lab supports its members' ability to output anonymously via proxy tools; in this way, our research can remain fluid via multi-pseodonymous identity. Deep Lab promotes creative research and development that challenges traditional forms of representation and distribution, evaluating these practices alongside typical traffic analysis identification. This process leverages the research of Deep Lab to contend with outdated modes of understanding culture within traditional social structures.
Deep Lab develops key participatory roles in the future. We utilize the Lab’s extensive knowledge of technology and creativity as a mode of analysis and output. As a group, we work to manifest actions better than any corporation or government. We write our own histories, and make history, by continuing in the tradition of female hackers and activists like Cornelia Solfrank, Netochka Nezvanova, and projects like Anna Adamolo.
The feedback system built into digital networks necessitates the sharing of information. A problem arises, however, when the distribution of this information conflicts with the notion of scarcity—a core ideological component of the value of cultural objects. Since the principles of global capitalism and government determine value based on data, we are left with a fundamental friction in the distribution and creation of culture or research through digital networks. Deep Lab's research will focus on this contradiction by exploring new modes of interaction.
Pushing beyond the boundaries of ego and affiliation, Deep Lab members may choose to protect their identity at any point through anonymity. Doing so allows group members to remain self-reflexive. In order to pursue experimental research and make cultural contributions sustainable, practices of anonymity lend members an authoritative, collective voice unencumbered by individual fear.
On December 23, 2014 Deep Lab published our 240 pages of research from the week long residency at Studio for Creative Inquiry at CMU. We also publish our project code, available for download or forking at our github repo.
I will not download things that get me into trouble. I will not download things that get me into trouble. I will not download things that get me into trouble. I will not download things that get me into trouble. I will not download things that get me into trouble. I will not download things that get me into trouble. I will not download things that get me into trouble. I will not download things that get me into trouble. I will download things that get me into trouble. I will download things that get me into trouble. I will download things. I will download things. I will download things. I will download things. I will download things. I will download things. I will download things. I will download things. I will download things.
Data and Dragons, Level 1-3
Kilohydra: A Love Letter to Chelsea [Manning] and xxxx.xxx [below] is a series of custom printed circuit boards that intercept and log data from it’s surrounding. Connected by Ethernet cables, Kilohydra anthropomorphizes a server room, a eulogy to a time where the online experience was anonymous and unknown. Information is processed but the sculpture never shares its findings.
Cloud Farming [below] questions the sacred nature of technology by re-contextualizing system hierarchy as a portrait of data. It manifests the cloud, social networks, data, leaks and what forms social capital into a single object. Ultimately its a creative experiment about contemporary power structures as a type of group consciousness, becoming a 3-dimensional map of post-Wikileaks information culture.
Sculpture (steel, CCTV cameras and DSL internet cables)
39 x 59 in (99.06 x 149.86 cm)
Asymmetric Love is about duality of function. It is a reflection of our current digital infrastructure, as the knowledge and ability to monitor others is defining the hieratic of power. Asymmetric Love was intended to mimic an iconic baroque chandelier. It attempts to be perceived as something familiar in memory by the audience so that the details of the CCTV cameras recording them is overlooked. In that regard the surveillance is not perceived as a direct threat, which becomes the biggest threat of all.
Optimization of Parenting, Part 2
Optimization of Parenting, Part 2 is a robot arm that reacts whenever a baby in the bassinet cries or awakes from sleep.
Mothers are socially often expected to be full time parents. This is sometimes due to lack of options, the cost of childcare or the lack of family support. As a result, the mother often loses the very creative practice she has spent an entire life building. Being a stay at home parent without help is literally like having four full time jobs in a row, all the time, without weekends or evenings off. And yet, if a women was to spend 24 hours a day doing anything else, all the time, without stopping, people would think she was insane. Parenting, for whatever reason, is exempt from this rule.
In order to optimize as much of the routine tedious monotony of parenthood as possible and make it an option for all women to have both her creative work and children we must optimize the process of parenting. The automatic repetitive task can be transferred to other devices, without affecting 'the development of the baby. This frees the mother to do their creative work without having to factor or budget for the high cost of childcare or feel she is pigeonholed into the role because it is simply 'a women's nature'.
This project was developed with support from the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University.
Technical Assistants: Madeline Gannon
Additional thanks to:
P. Zach Ali