Workshop at Merz Akademie


Where: Project week at Merz Akademie, Stuttgart, Germany
Total duration: 4 days

The workshop was a brief introduction to steganography, the art and science of hiding in plain sight. I covered the cultural politics and basic theories, history and techniques of steganography. In the first part of this workshop, students learned how to make, apply and activate various kinds of invisible inks such as milk, lemon juice, starch, baking soda and saliva. Invisible inks are one of the oldest forms of steganography. In the second part, they learned and experimented with linguistic forms of steganography such as cardan grille, null cipher and coded slang. 

The workshop was a part of a research into steganography and how analogue forms of steganography might make up for deficiencies of digital communication and provide a possible solution to more secure communication in the age of pervasive online surveillance. Historically speaking, compared to cryptography which was considered more scientifically sophisticated as it was primarily a mathematical endeavour, steganography was its dark cousin, elusively steeped in alchemy, magic and mystery. Through analogue forms of steganography the project aims to explore the practical act of evading the digital gaze on one hand and on the other hand explore the poetic and creative potential in forming alternative modes of communication to strengthen community bonds.

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