The White Room

The White Room was a live installation in the exhibition Nervous Systems at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW), curated by Stephanie Hankey and Marek Tuszynski of Tactical Tech and Anselm Franke of HKW. Open from 11 March to May 9 2016, The White Room had nearly 10,000 visitors during its opening.

The White Room manifests as the ideal corporate shopping experience; fully equipped with data experts, product lines and a hands- on training facility. ‘Valued customers’ can play with our everyday devices and gain a better understanding of the digital shadows they cast. Through sleek interfaces and user friendly systems, visitors will see how individual identities are mediated by the state and through corporations. The White Room shows participants how data is aggregated by their activities in existing technological environments and acts as a guide for the broader scope of the ‘self' within these environments. Through this interactive experience, visitors will acquire the knowledge to make more informed choices online based on the current state of internet freedom, privacy, and surveillance.

The range of artworks, investigations, products, and advocacy projects presented in the space emphasize the importance of digital autonomy, its political implications, and are arranged into four thematic sections: The Ingenious Bar; Something to Hide; Big Mama; and Normal is Boring.

The Ingenious Bar
Presenting objects to clearly illustrate the inner workings of a quantified society. The Ingenious Bar demonstrates the practicalities of material and immaterial realities of quantification - for example, how does mobility around our cities, streets and institutions look when digitalized? And how is that information used? On Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays, The Bar is staffed by workers who lead visitors through the devices and interfaces we interact with on a daily basis. Workshops, demos and consultations are lead by staff workers that help visitors understand how the data on these devices is collected, traced, and who has ownership over that data. The Bar staff also offer tours of our “App Center”, a compilation of applications that offer safer and better control of personal data. Ultimately, the White Room is a space for reflection, experimentation and play.
Something to Hide
A response to the “Nothing to hide” ideology and campaign, Something Hide asks how does the self operate in a quantified society? A series of critical interventions by creative practitioners and artists present alternative ways to interact and feed our devices. On display are metronomes for your activity tracker ('Unfit Bits’) as well as a toy panda stuffed with shredded Snowden documents.
Big Mama
A comprehensive look into the modern state, Big Mama explores the reinvention of the state as the e-government or digital agency. Objects here demonstrate institutionalized methods of data observation, tracking, pattern recognition and its adaptation to governmental operations from national identification to refugee aid. Dressed up as care, Big Mama takes these precautions because "it's for your own good”.
Normal is Boring
Re-creating the internet landscape as a miniature world for a top- down view, Normal is Boring represents the tech oligarchs developing fertility chips for women in previously colonized countries and the Google Empire - "One Account, All of Google”. On the surface, it is California-meets-cybernetics; underneath, it is big business. Startups aren't the product of hobbyists and technology enthusiasts, but rather designs of marketing departments, Washington D.C. lobbyists, and Wall Street analysts. Branded as disruptive 'Un-Companies', these entities are more precisely major stake holders of power, influence, and wealth.
FRIEZE D/E issue 24, July 2016: Home Alone: On art, architecture, and domestic effects of digitalization  [EN] WDW Review, July 2016: Can the Cultural Logic of the Digital Era be Exhibited? A tale of two shows [EN] Metropolism, May 2016: How to live in a society where every aspect of life is quantified [EN] Kunstkritikk, May 2016: Livit som data (Life as Data) [NO] Art Monthly, Issue 396 (May 2016) [EN] Betterplace Lab, April 2016: Sind wir Teil eines nervösen Systems? [DE] Are We Part of a Nervous System?) We Make Money Not Art, April 2016: Confessions of a Data Broker and Other Tales of a Quantified Society [EN] Furtherfield, April 2016: Nervous Systems – Algorithms and our everyday life [EN] Zeitgeschichte, April 2016: Identität im Digitalen Zeitalter [DE] Identity in the Digital Age Art Berlin, April 2016: Top Exhibitions April 2016: Nervous Systems - Quantified Life and the Social Question & Gallery Weekend Guide: Kunst-Tipps von Dr. Nina Koidl [DE] Gallery Weekend Guide: Art Tips from Dr Nina Koidl Neues Deutschland, April 2016: Im technischen Nervenzentrum [DE] In the technical nerve centre aqnb, April 2016: No Human is a Data Island [EN] Dwutygodnik, April 2016: Niewidzialne fronty [PL] Invisible Frontlines TAZ, April 2016: Digitaler Bärendienst: Leben unter den Bedingungen der digitalen Ausforschung: die „Nervöse Systeme“-Schau im HKW [DE] Digital disservice: Life under the condition of digital scrutiny NZZ, April 2016: Sind wir Herr der Maschinen, oder ist es umgekehrt? [DE] Are we masters of the machines, or is it the other way around? Tagesspiegel, March 2016: Data Detox [DE] & Traume sind nicht dechiffrierbar [DE] Dreams are not decipherable  exBerliner, March 2016: Nervous Systems: Big issues with big data [EN] iRights, April 2016: Nervöse Systeme – Was Algorithmen für unseren Alltag bedeuten [DE] Nervous Systems - what algorithms mean for our everyday lives Donau Kurier Berlin, March 2016: Verstecken hilft nicht [DE] Hiding doesn't help  Wired - Germany, March 2016: Peeple und die Angst um unsere digitale Identität [DE] Peeple and the anxiety around our digital identity Süddeutsche Zeitung, March 2016: Verhalten Sie sich ganz normal! [DE] Just behave normally!  SWR2 - Kulturthema, March 2016: Nervöse Systeme - Quantifiziertes Leben und die soziale Frage [radio + article][de] Deutschlandfunk - Corso, March 2016: Der Mensch verfängt sich im Datennetzwerk [DE] Human beings caught in the data network Deutschlandradio Kultur - Kompressor, March 2016: Warum Big Mama zum Fürchten ist [DE] Why we should fear "Big Mama"  Dars Magazine, March 2016: Nervous Systems - Vita quantificata e questione sociale [IT] Nervous Systems - Quantified Life and the Social Question Zitty Berlin, March 2016: "Empfehlung fürs Wochenende" [DE] Recommendation for the weekend & Nervöse Systeme - Das Haus der Kulturen der Welt stellt Projekte zu Datenströmen und Kontrollverlust aus [DE] The House of World Cultures issues projects on data flows and loss of control Tip Berlin, March 2016: Technologie ist nie neutral [DE] Technology is never neutral