HACKING HABITAT. ART OF CONTROL is a large-scale, international exhibition on the cutting edge of art, technology and social change that opened on February 26th, 2016. More than 80 internationally acclaimed artists and designers exhibited new and existing work in a former prison in Utrecht. With Forensic Architecture (UK), Melanie Bonajo (NL), James Bridle(UK), Felix Burger (DE), Cristina Lucas (ES), Centre for Political Beauty (DE), Johan Grimonprez (BE), Susan Hiller (USA), Samson Kambalu (MW), William Kentridge (SA), Laura Kurgan (USA), Metahaven (NL), Pedro Reyes (MX), Stanza (GB), Fernando Sanchez Castillo (ES),and many others.
Prison is a metaphor for the way in which technology, politics and economic systems hold us in their grip. A prison is the perfect environment for experiencing a heightened sense of digital captivity. What if our smartphones turn out to be the new panopticum? HACKING HABITAT as exhibition takes the visitor along in dizzying science fiction real time. It makes control palpable and displays the power of resistance where artists take the lead. Playfully, they reconquer their life world. They hack their habitat, creating space for awareness, debate and renewal.
HACKING HABITAT interweaves two story lines: that of a globally encroaching technocracy and that of the opposing power that organises itself in response. The story is not one of good versus evil, but instead poses the question of how we can find a balance between technology and humanity. To answer this question the organisation has collected responses from people under the motto: how can be we keep life in the future liveable? Artworks commissioned for the exhibition follow the principle ‘disconnect to reconnect’: how to restore the relationship between human and machine?
HACKING HABITAT features a range of art forms: theater, film, visual arts, installations, sound artwork, as well as interactive games and DIY workshops. All works have the same high quality demonstrated in earlier art exhibitions produced by the Niet Normaal Foundation, such as Niet Normaal (Amsterdam, 2009/10) and Ja Natuurlijk (The Hague, 2013). These unique and topical exhibitions of biennale scale drew large and diverse audiences