Becoming Fog: practices of obfuscation for the datafying world

Becoming Fog: practices of obfuscation for the datafying world

31 January 2015

transmediale, Berlin, Germany | Website

The practice of obfuscation, according to Helen Nissenbaum and Finn Brunton, is a form of vernacular resistance, based on the idea of providing misleading, false, or ambiguous data in order to make data gathering less reliable and therefore less valuable. Obfuscation misleads, confuses and pollutes the system; it is not only about claiming anonymity; it is also about consciously taking a stance against the mechanisms of excessive surveillance by putting them into question, challenging their accuracy and efficiency.

The panel hosts artists who have been consistently developing practices of obfuscation through their projects. Examples include how a browser extension can obfuscate browsing data, and therefore render online profiling unreliable as well as how a tactical toolkit can offer users the possibility to delete DNA traces securing their genetic privacy. In both cases, creating noise and confusion is also part of the process. Can this new form of invisibity provoke change and is it trustworthy? The panel will discuss the logic and impact of obfuscation while also relating it as a practice to relevant earlier stances of active resistance against identification.

*”Becoming fog” is an expression from Tiqqun’s: “The Cybernetic Hypothesis”

Daphne Dragona, Zach Blas, Mushon Zer-Aviv, Heather Dewey-Hagborg
Haus der Kulturen der Welt