Reverse Proxy, Guilherme Peters and Roberto Winter, 2015.

Over the last 25 years, the World Wide Web has expanded our concept of the public sphere from the physical to the virtual.  For the second chapter of our recurring programme The Public Domain, Delfina Foundation is interested in exploring the collapse between these two realms through the use of technology.  We are also interested in current debates on security versus surveillance, privacy versus privatization, and autonomy versus anarchy.

To frame our second programme of The Public Domain, we are initially proposing three sub-themes: Grey AreasGame Theories and Covert Ops.

Within Grey Areas we wish to explore the legalities of public space and ‘fair use’ of digital or public property, from open source data to rights-of-access over private land.  We will particularly focus on the concept of loopholes that become a creative way to circumvent set rules and produce alternative possibilities.

Game Theories will playfully consider the decisions we make in The Public Domain where civic and digital spaces are filters of public and private information, from Facebook ‘likes’ to public art campaigns.  With an eye on economic theories such as the ‘tradegy of the commons’ and the ‘price of anarchy’, we are curious about how public opinion and identity are affected when our behaviour and tastes are tracked and predicted.

Covert Ops will expand on the previous sub-themes to consider ways in which the public domain is controlled and/or contravened, from flash mobs to kettling, from drone surveillance to deep packet inspections, and from social networks to the darknet and other forms of architecture used to mask, encrypt, perform or reinforce identity.

The Public Domain is one of several on-going themesthat underpin DF’s residency and public programmes. For information on the first chapter of The Public Domain, click here.

To view the event programme for The Public Domain – Season 2 please click here.


Maryam Monalisa Gharavi (Iran/USA) considers complex and versatile approaches to the uses of language, image, and the closure of illusory boundaries. During her residency, Gharavi intends to both initiate new work and continue to develop her current project The Face Value: Simulacra and Surveillance.

The work of Louis Henderson (UK/France) questions the micropolitical tensions between post-colonialism, technology, capitalism and history. His current research explores the new materialities of the Internet and the colonialisation of cyber space through planetary scale computing. While at Delfina Foundation, Henderson will develop a new project about the corporate adoption of the language of the collective in relationship to recent developments in Internet technology.

Marianna Liosi (Germany) is an independent curator developing research-based socially engaged projects. Through aesthetics, she explores the social, economic and political dynamics related related to the use of the technology. During her residency she will continue work on her on-going project Regarding Spectatorship, co-initiated in 2013 with Boaz Levin, which focuses upon the prevalent mode of vision and the engagement of the distant onlooker in relation to mediated events, including the role played by mass and informal media. Marianna’s residency is supported by Goethe-Institut London.

Roberto Winter (Brazil) is interested in the production of things that can make the current state of affairs graspable, unbearable and lead to its inexorable overcoming. While at Delfina Foundation, Winter intends to embark on a process of research and production, focusing on London-specific politics, such as Julian Assange’s asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy and the recent ‘crypto war’ agenda of the Conservative government.

Laurel Ptak (USA) employs curatorial, artistic and pedagogical modes to critically attend to social and political dimensions of art and technology. At Delfina Foundation she will build upon ideas developed in her project Wages For Facebook (2014), which explores what it would mean to demand economic rights as ‘workers’ inside the context and logic of social media.

Caroline Campbell (Ireland) joins us on behalf of Loitering Theatre, a collective that explores network cultures, strange architectures, notions of the permitted, and sci-fi futures made real. During her residency, Campbell will consider ways of reversing notions of the surveyed and the surveyor, building on ideas developed in her current project LPS Zapatista Encuentro.

Élise Atangana (France / Cameroon) is an independent curator and producer. She is interested in how both physical and virtual mobility, including the movement of persons, ideas, objects and communication means, affect us in our daily life. Her recent exhibition ‘Entry Prohibited To Foreigners‘, 2015, (Havremagasinet, Sweden), was an introduction to different mobilities. Atangana co-curated ‘Producing The Common’ the international exhibition of the 11th Dakar Biennale, 2014. While at Delfina Foundation she will further explore the concepts of the mobility turn (as defined by John Urry) and the mobility transition within the context of ‘Seven Hills’, her project for The 2nd Kampala Art Biennale in 2016.

UK Associates

The collaborative work of Brad Butler and Karen Mirza (UK) investigates the terms and conditions of images, objects, collaboration and (non) participation. As UK Associate artists, Butler and Mirza will contribute their current interest on conspiracy theories, paramilitary activity, trials and incidents that conspire to add to the contemporary mythology of the Deep State in Turkey and elsewhere. 

In his practice, Zach Blas (USA), engages emerging technologies of control and their socio-political impact from queer, feminist, anti-racist, and anti-imperial perspectives. During his residency, Blas will continue work on his current research project Contra-Internet, which works to describe the emerging artistic militancies and political subversions of neoliberal networked digital technologies.