Interview with !Mediengruppe Bitnik


Interview conducted by Eryk Salvaggio, swissnex San Francisco
Reproduced and edited courtesy of swissnex San Francisco

Mediengruppe Bitnik - photo Caspar Urban Weber!Mediengruppe Bitnik, Swiss artists based in Berlin, might be described as post-internet artists. The duo, Carmen Weisskopf and Domagoj Smoljo, and their accomplices, Adnan Hadzi and Daniel Ryser, create work that often occupies legal gray areas of the digital world, tying threads through loopholes of privacy and security. We were pleased to sit down with them to connect the dots between art and hacker culture, and what data means for how we define trust and intimacy.

The group’s Ashley Madison Angels At Work Around Lausanne is an immersive sound and space design that draws on actual chat scripts from 51 San Francisco-based chatbots created for adultery website Ashley Madison. Guests enter into an environment bathed in pink light and carpet, the colors of the site, and are beckoned by 51 masked avatars whose expressions are as blank as the white backgrounds behind them. The sound of their pick up lines swirls around the room: “Are you online?” “Care for a chat?”

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

→ Complete interview (pdf)