„Can you hear me?“

Credit: Christoph Wachter, Mathias Jud

Christoph Wachter (CH) und Mathias Jud (CH)

Edward Snowden’s disclosures shined the spotlight of public attention on, among other locations, Berlin’s federal government district, revealing it to be the site of extremely intense surveillance and espionage by intelligence agencies. So this is precisely where Christoph Wachter and Mathias Jud wanted to set up a temporary installation on the subject of power and powerlessness in the Digital Age.

On the roofs of the Academy of Arts and the Swiss Embassy—right between the listening posts in the American and British Embassies—they set up improvised antennas and installed an independent Wifi communications network, the range of which included the Reichstag, the Office of the Federal Chancellor and the Swiss Embassy.

Anyone with a Wifi-capable device could join the network and chat, send text messages and share files. Personnel of the embassies and German government agencies were cordially invited to join in too. Plus, anyone who wished could send messages to the intelligence organizations on precisely those frequencies on which the American NSA and the British GCHQ were listening in.