Invisible Island is an art project that revolves around the notion of sharing and the intersection the public space and the data space. This is the first public presentation of the project.
PRESENTED @KUNSTHAL AARHUS, AUGUST 21st 2014
Part of Human Futures
Collaboration Montréal / Aarhus
Presented at The Media Architecture Biennale
NETWORKS CHANGED OUR LIVES
ALLOWING US TO ACCESS INFORMATION
ANYTIME, WHEREVER WE ARE
BUT THIS FREEDOM TO ACCESS INFORMATION
IS SLOWLY BEING RESTRAINED
GOVERNMENTS ARE APPLYING
NET-NEUTRALITY IS BEING CHALLENGED
COMPANIES TRY TO CREATE
CENTRALIZED ENTRY POINTS
I'M FEELING LUCKY
THE QUESTION OF OWNERSHIP & CONTROL
OF NETWORKS HAS BECOME CRITICAL
PLATON / WIRED MAGAZINE
NEW YORK TIMES?
WHAT CAN BE DONE TO TAKE BACK SOME CONTROL
AND PRESERVE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION
CHANGING SOCIETY BY TECHNOLOGICAL MEANS
QUESTION THE TECHNOLOGY WE DEPEND ON, UNDERSTAND IT,
AND TURN IT TO OUR ADVANTAGE.
5POINTZ NEW YORK CITY
STREET ART & GRAFFITI
WHAT IF, UNLIKE ON THE INTERNET,
INFORMATION WAS ONLY AVAILABLE LOCALLY?
HOW COULD THIS HELP PRESERVE FREEDOM
OF SHARING & FREEDOM OF COMMUNICATION?
AND HOW WOULD THAT AFFECT
INVISIBLE ISLANDS LEVERAGE INEXPENSIVE
HARDWARE & OPEN-SOURCE SOFTWARE
TO CREATE INFORMATION ISLANDS
WHERE INFORMATION IS ONLY ACCESSIBLE LOCALLY
THE DEVICES CREATE A DATA OVERLAY
THAT IS ANCHORED IN THE URBAN LANDSCAPE
INFORMATION IS MADE ACCESSIBLE
THROUGH QR CODES DISPLAYED IN THE PUBLIC SPACE
MOBILE DEVICES ARE USED TO SCAN
THE QR CODES AND ACCESS THEIR CONTENT
BUT THE CONTENT IS ONLY ACCESSIBLE
WITHIN A DELIMITED PHYSICAL SPACE
CREATING AN INFORMATION ISLAND
NATURALLY SHELTERED FROM NETWORK-WIDE SCRUTINY
EACH INFORMATION ISLAND IS A BLANK CANVAS
FOR THE LOCAL COMMUNITY TO SHARE & EXCHANGE
THE FIRST PHASE OF THE PROJECT
IS BEING INSTALLED IN AARHUS
ISLANDS WILL LATER BE DEPLOYED IN
STRASBOURG, MONTRÉAL & LIVERPOOL
AARHUS IS AN IMPORTANT CITY
THIS IS WHERE WE INTEND TO DEVELOP
A LOCAL COMMUNITY OF USERS
THE FIRST LOCATION WILL BE THE PARK
IN FRONT OF THE PUBLIC LIBRARY
The park offers a large open space,
with a wide range of people passing
by and staying for a while.
From students in the morning and
afternoon to parents with young
children during the day, and a
varied crowd at night, it seems to be
a place that most people would see
every week if not every day in
The nearby library actually uses QR
codes on busts displayed at the
Sadly, the QR codes are only
accessible if you have mobile data
access, as the nearby WiFi
networks all require some kind of
THE SECOND LOCATION WILL BE THE
NEARBY BANK BEHIND THE VOXHOLL VENUE
The space behing Voxholl is more
intimate, surrounded by trees and
even features some cosy lounge
It has very different properties from
M lleparken and a crowd that is
likely to be more specific.
The two spaces being so close, and
in way, so different, makes it even
more interesting to install Islands
THE THIRD LOCATION WILL BE
The outside portion of Godsbannen
acts as an open playground for
The strong concentration of
creativity and the playfulness of the
open space make it ideal for
deploying an Island.
The Media Architecture Biennale will
also be held there.
THESE THREE SPACES ALL HAVE DIFFERENT
QUALITIES & COMMUNITIES
AN IMPORTANT ASPECT OF THE PROJET IS HOW PEOPLE
WILL USE THE ISLANDS & WHAT TYPE OF CONTENT THEY WILL CREATE
AS SUCH, THE PROJECT IS A MUCH A SOCIAL EXPERIMENT
AS A TECHNOLOGICAL EXPERIMENT
WHICH IS WHY SOME USES CASES
ARE IMPORTANT TO INSPIRE PEOPLE
CRAEATE A LOCAL NETWORK OF PLACES TO VISIT, WHERE TOURSITS &
LOCALS CAN LEARN MORE ABOUT THE CITIE'S LANDMARKS
Using printed guides works if you
have them on you all the time.
As tourists don't have mobile data,
and public WiFi might not be
accessible it's not really possible to
use a webpage for information.
Even if you're on-site it's often hard
to know if a particular building is
QR-CODES AS SIGNAGE
QR-code enhanced stickers with a
distinsctive visual identity allow to
clearly identify buildings of interest,
while giving access to useful
information without requiring
Each sticker will tell you more about
the building's history, its
architecture and why it is important
to the city.
While people visit builings the
unlock new content that turns
learning about the city into an
interactive real-life game.
CAPTURING THE EPHEMERAL
Street art comes and goes, either
white washed, removed by city
cleaning teams or sprayed over.
Although the temporary nature of
street art is part of its charm, there
is a loss of history & maybe a loss
of identify for the place when a
ADDING A NEW LAYER
By using the Island to capture
photos of the graffiti, while it is still
visible, and binding them to a QR
code sticker, the history of the place
can be preserved.
QR code can be placed and re-
placed at will, allowing permanent
access to this moment in time.
As Islands preserve privacy , graffiti
artist (or their supporters) can
overlay information containing
details about the artist and the
specific piece, turning the location
into a public exhibition space.
About the Artist
Above is an international street artist who has
deliberately chosen to keep his identity
concealed. He was born in California in 1981
and has been creating public art since 1995.
Above is known for his multi-layer, full color
social and political stencils, spinning wooden
SHARING IN PRIVACY
A whistleblowers might be afraid of
using the Internet (even with TOR)
to share information.
They might even be afraid of
handing over a USB key in person.
SHARING IN PRIVACY
Instead, he could prepare the files
and put them on his mobile phone,
then locate an existing QR code
within the area of an Island and
attach the files to the QR code.
Later on, a journalist could then
scan the QR code while connected
to the Island and retrieve the
As the QR would normally redirect to
a regular website, there is no easy
way for someone to notice that the
journalist is actually accessing the
information cell on the Island.
HACKERS & MAKERS
OPEN DATA ACTIVISTS
How do we
a new medium?
this new medium?
How do we relate
to a data space
anchored in the urban space?
Who does the data space
belong to / what are the legal
IN ESSENCE, INVISIBLE ISLANDS
IS ABOUT CREATING A NEW MEDIUM
BASED ON A DATA OVERLAY
ANCHORED IN THE PHYSICAL SPACE
THAT IS BOTH
OPEN & PRIVATE
WHERE BOUNDARIES BETWEEN
ART, DESIGN, ENGINEERING & ACTIVISM
AS AN ART PROJECT
THE RESULT IS INVISIBLE
AND ONLY EXISTS IN ITS POTENTIAL
FOR CREATION & SOCIAL CHANGE