Men in Grey…with black suit cases…

Art Press Release from Australia. Published by Rebecca Gabrielle Cannon on Friday 18 February 2011.

Men in Grey…with black suit cases… image

The project was first presented in public space during the Media Facades Festival in Berlin and in Helsinki in 2010.

Imagine a hip café in which the self-employed entreprenuer and the freelance keep each other company while absorbed by the screen in front where they develop graphics and create websites, plan projects or chat with important social contacts. Men in grey suits with black suit cases appear at any public wireless access point, in a café or walking through the streets. The men’s suitcases have integrated screens that they carry visibly with the screen facing the public. Their aim is to capture currently used web content from a wireless network in range. Not only do they suck the images of the sites onto their screen as they pass by web users, they also deform website’s proper appearance and manipulate private chats! The display of private content on their portable screens is interrupted by computer identity matrixes and graphs adding a rather mystifying aesthetic.

The Men in Grey will walk by swiftly; whether noticed or not, an interaction is unlikely. However, if seen, this theft of visual information immediately ignites what is known as Network Anxiety, which has been the Web’s pendant since it was born.

The project was launched by the organization M.I.G, which has contracted the artists not to speak about the project or reveal any material. Strangely enough, the website of the project provides explicit technical instructions for epigones.