Amy Suo Wu
Greetings From Invisible Borderlands
This message is from me to you, but it does not exist just for us. The Internet policies of privacy do not like secrets, and they like their distributors even less. Even though cryptographic algorithms are capable of hiding the content of a message, they will not conceal the fact that it exists, which –
according to an unwritten web principle – is enough to classify the sender as a suspicious individual. That is why a network distributing secrets requires much more sophisticated ploys – establishing new distribution channels which will not only hide, but also annihilate the message. In 1550, the Italian scientist Girolamo Cardano developed a simple and effective way of sending secret messages. The secret did not materialize until it reached the recipient. The sender’s note had a standard form, in which only some letters in particular words had any significance for the actual message. The addressee used a rectangular stencil with cutout holes which he simply placed on the letter to read the secret information. Hundreds of years later, Amy Suo Wuu used this age-old trick to cheat algorithms scanning the contents of our online messages. First, the artist sent colourful postcards to people, asking them to cut out fragments marked by blue squares. The postcards also included the address of a website. When accessed, the site displayed a Google Maps photo showing storefronts with neon signs. That was where the message was waiting to be decoded by means of the perforated postcard. All you needed to do was place it on an appropriately framed screen. That message was for their eyes only.