Ruhr-Uni-Bochum
Cyber Security in the Age of Large-Scale Adversaries

Our Art-Science Residency

At the Cluster of Excellence "CASA - Cyber Security in the Age of Large-Scale Adversaries", we decided in 2021/2022 to bring together two topics that at first glance seem like completely opposite worlds: IT security and art.

Art Meets IT security in Bochum

Cyber Security in the Age of Large-Scale Adversaries
Cyber Security in the Age of Large-Scale Adversaries

In the framework of an artist residency entitled RE:SEARCHING IT SECURITY, we wanted to give our scientists the opportunity to explore how the two disciplines can enrich each other. By engaging with art, they were to gain a new perspective on their work, question the familiar and the routine, and gain creative impulses for their work. At the same time, a work of art was to be created that would give the public an equally new and unusual view of IT security and make them think.

Berlin-based media artist Marco Barotti was selected for the artistic collaboration with his concept APES. Beforehand, artists from all over the world had submitted their project ideas as part of an open call to become our Artist in Residence.

Over the course of many weeks, researchers from the CASA Cluster of Excellence, the Horst Görtz Institute for IT Security, and the Max Planck Institute for Security and Privacy met with Marco digitally and on the RUB campus to discuss their research topics and visions for the future. During the joint exchange, new ideas and thought-provoking impulses kept coming in, which shaped the artwork. Thus, the initial idea evolved into a work of art that deals with our digital development as well as the topics of IT security, data consumption, surveillance capitalism, disinformation and energy needs.

The project was realized together with STATE.

Insights Into Our Art-Science Residency

Cyber Security in the Age of Large-Scale Adversaries
Cyber Security in the Age of Large-Scale Adversaries
Cyber Security in the Age of Large-Scale Adversaries

APES: Kinetic Sculptures - Driven by Data Consumption and Cyber Attacks

Cyber Security in the Age of Large-Scale Adversaries
Cyber Security in the Age of Large-Scale Adversaries

With APES, a collection of kinetic sound sculptures emerged over the course of the residency: Four primates were made from recycled Wi-Fi sector antennas, attached to a 2 ½ meter high tower of trusses and controlled by algorithms. Screens above their "heads" show steadily increasing numbers on data consumption (e.g., from Google searches, emails sent, and tweets) and cybersecurity events.

When the counters reach certain key values, the screens turn red and the sculptures emit apes calls. These calls were specially created by CASA researchers as deepfakes of real monkey calls for the artwork. Based on the idea of surveillance capitalism and data consumption, the apes are programmed to move according to patterns determined by these same numbers. Symbolic breaks from data consumption and exploitation occur when the artwork stops altogether: "Digital Wellbeing" then appears on the screens; another area of research that CASA researchers are working on.

The sound sculptures are supplemented by video interviews conducted with the participating researchers during the artist residency.

Impressions From Our Closing Event on April 28, 2022

Cyber Security in the Age of Large-Scale Adversaries
Cyber Security in the Age of Large-Scale Adversaries
Cyber Security in the Age of Large-Scale Adversaries

Exhibition of the Artwork in Seoul, May - June 2022

Cyber Security in the Age of Large-Scale Adversaries

Our artwork APES has reached the first stage of its world tour: From May 25 to June 26 it will be exhibited at the Alternative Space Loop in Seoul, Korea.

More Information About the Exhibition

Cyber Security in the Age of Large-Scale Adversaries

Contact

Annika Gödde and Barbara Alfing will be happy to answer any questions you may have about the project.