phoney™ (Informational Society), 1999

Every society has a control room from where the activities of the
general public are monitored and kept in check. Control rooms are
usually occupied by the established power structure; for example, the
(imaginary) guard at the center of Jeremy Bentham’s model prisonas-
panopticon. In the age of the Internet, control rooms are built
into the network, allowing the guards—whomever they might be—to
access and exploit the data on our personal computers, often without
us knowing it. The installation phoney (Informational Society) gives
visitors entrance to the information society control room. Taking
the form of a “shed,” the control room is filled with instructions and
tools that empower the visitor to hack a wide variety of systems by,
for example, bypassing password protections, making free longdistance
phone calls, and carrying out online attacks on a company.
To what ends the visitor might apply the hacks remains an open question,
but the material presented in the installation demonstrates both
that digital security is a serious issue and that the means of digital
empowerment—or countercontrol—are at our fingertips. The point
is obvious: The information society is defined by its means of control
and how we use them. As such the information society is not a given
entity but depends on what we make of it. Will we let ourselves be
controlled, or will we take control?
The installation includes a CD-ROM that was given the Lux Ziffer #1
award at the 2001 transmediale festival in Berlin. The award was an
anonymously sponsored prize given to “those who feed or fight the
digital dragon.”


Drop a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *