Join the "Tactics and Poetics of Invisibility" workshop with Amy Suo Wu on October 27th, 2017
Born in Shantou, raised in Sydney and based in Rotterdam, Amy Suo Wu is an artist and designer researching how language, technology and media shape people and vice versa. Her research based hybrid practice is an exploration into how to activate, amplify and intervene in critical and playful ways.
Her latest project is Thunderclap, a steganographic fashion zine that instrumentalizes fashion accessories as a cover to spread sensitive, underground or erased knowledge to distribute He-Yin Zhen’s writing into the public sphere. It is the first manifestation of the larger body of research called The New Nüshu that investigates Chinese feminism, language politics, steganography and publishing in the context of China
"At some point, militant jihadists were reported to run pornographic websites as a cover, using porn images for hidden communication. Unlike cryptographic messages, which typically are scrambled, unreadable and therefore visible as encoded message at first sight, steganographic messages are designed to slip under the radar. Amy Suo Wu’s steganographic works do this as well, using the superimposition of grids on texts to uncover hidden text, substitution ciphers and camouflaged text within text in combination with invisible inks. [...]
Is analog steganography merely a legacy or nostalgic form of information obfuscation today? Especially when using the classical technique of invisible inks, in a digital communication age where few letters are still written by hand on paper?
Not even secret agents seem to use invisible inks any more. In 2011, the CIA declassified its own invisible ink recipes and published them online. This initiated Amy Suo Wu’s research into invisible inks. Working at the fringes of graphic design, art, media research and activism, Wu does not reactivate invisible inks for simple aesthetic reasons. Neither is her project just about the post-digital, neo-analog appeal of these inks. [...]
Intercepted messages whose encryption today’s computers can’t decipher in reasonable amounts of time are routinely being archived so that their encryption may be cracked some day in the future when faster computers are available. Under these conditions of a cold info war, Wu’s invisible ink works are more than just highly enjoyable pieces of visual art and calligraphic design (and pieces of truly, socially interactive art and design on top of that). As a combination of exhibition works, toolkit manuals and workshops, they are also pieces of practical media research and activism.