& / Darkside Moonwolker

Posted on: August 17th, 2022 by & No Comments

Dark web content as a screensaver.

Because of tidal locking, a common, Earth-bound observer sees every night one and the same side of the Moon. The internet too is accessed by most of us from the verified, safe, humane side. It is the side that is censored, regulated, that follows laws and bends to economic and power structures, and that is accessible through popular search engines. There is, of course, much more to be seen on the internet. The deep web, which is not indexed by these search engines, is thus more difficult to access for a common user. The dark web is part of the deep web and it operates through an anonymised connection to an encrypted decentralised network. One can access the content only with the help of special software and configuration. The communication here doesn’t follow the client-server architecture but a peer-to-peer chain of client nodes and, in addition to that, it is always encrypted. This way the users are provided with a high level of anonymity. The flip side of this advantage is that their computer gets involved in the network whatever it is used for. And it is used for the web pages that hide here, above all, because of practical, security but also legal reasons. Darkside Moonwalker shows a random selection of dark web content in the form of a screensaver.


Moonwalker follows up on the collective exhibition project Inhuman Art (2019 https://screensaver.metazoa.org/inhuman-art/) that started with a provocative challenge to create art intended not primarily for the human audience. More than fifty artists and art groups presented their audiovisual artworks in this exhibition. The ways they approached the challenge varied but, as expected, they were informed by the ideas of new materialism and speculative realism. Most of the time this inspiration was presented illustratively. There were also projects that reflect upon non-human aspects of the technologies themselves by following some of the contemporary new media theories (network studies, infrastructure studies and data analyses). 

Darkside Moonwalker brings the topic back down to earth by touching upon the non-human in a more civil fashion than the previous exhibition did. It does that from the point of view of self-evaluation that takes place on an everyday basis. One can observe that in everyday speech, the notion of “not human” is most often expressed as inhuman as in inhuman behaviour, inhuman treatment. We mark this way the sites where, on various levels, both manifestly and latently, individually and as a society, we draw the red line between the acceptable (human) and the unacceptable (inhuman). However, some of the theories associated with the so-called nonhuman turn (the other meaning of “not human”) suggest that even our impulsive reactions and reflective opinions are not entirely human. It is because they can be understood as a product of mutual interaction of nonhuman actors and materials or technologically conditioned information.

When during this exhibition you go away from the computer where you access the available content, Darkside Moonwalker browses through the content that is hidden and guides you through the wild jungle inaccessible through the popular web browsers. Should we be afraid of seeing something that we wouldn’t want to see? Something that would bewilder us? Maybe, but what would it mean?

But maybe it would lead to acknowledgement that it is a liberal haven for safe and secure sharing of various documents without censorship, especially when some of them should actually be publicly available.

The jury is still out on the rules of internet content regulation. Nonetheless, most of this debate takes place within the web accessible by popular browsers and on its own terms. Because of that, these borders or limits tend to dissolve, and fade away from our field of sight. A confrontation with the content from the dark side of the web can, however, remind us of their existence.

To download the program and experience the exhibition visit the webpage of the ScreenSaverGallery:

& / Barbora Trnková with Tomáš Javůrek



Stylistic editing and translation into English by Palo Fabuš

The project was financially supported by Faculty of Fine Arts, Brno University of Technology.




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