Trevor Paglen and Jacob Appelbaum
Autonomy Cube
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The book is a critical analyzes of one art project, namely the Autonomy Cube by Trevor Paglen and Jacob Appelbaum. The Autonomy Cube is a sculpture designed to be housed in art museums, galleries, and civic spaces. Several Internet-connected computers housed within the work create an open Wi-Fi hotspot called “Autonomy Cube” wherever it is installed. Anyone can join this network and use it to browse the Internet. But Autonomy Cube does not provide a normal Internet connection. The sculpture routes all of the Wi-Fi traffic over the Tor network, a global network of thousands of volunteer-run servers, relays, and services designed to help anonymize data.

For the first time in its history in the Edith-Russ-Haus the Cube’s Tor relay served as an exit-node by joining into the network of volunteer-run servers providing anonymous Internet access around the world, way beyond the defined boundaries of the gallery space.

In developing an entire exhibition around a single artwork, the Edith-Russ-Haus seeked to make a statement on the proliferation of surveillance technology upon our daily lives, and the disconcerting obliviousness of public knowledge on this issue. An issue that risks transforming open societies into control states. In light of the rapidly expanding techno-sphere and after journalistic revelations exposed massive surveillance operations by powerful states without civic consent or democratic procedures, the Autonomy Cube project revives the utopian ideas from the initial years of the Internet.

In the book two newly commissioned essays provide critical reading of the Autonomy Cube project from multiple perspectives. The art historian Dr. Luke Skrebowski positions the piece in the history of institutional critic, meanwhile architect and urbanist Keller Easterling tackles with its political potential.

authors: Trevor Paglen, Jacob Appelbaum
Keller Easterling, Luke Skrebowski, Edit Molnár and Marcel Scwierin


Berlin 2016, 107 pages, ill., 22 x 22 cm, stitched binding, German/English
ISBN 978-3-95763-302-6 {Lieferbar}