Translucent Futures is an artistic/activist platform initiated by Angelo Vermeulen that deals with the increasing abrasion of civil liberties through ubiquitous, networked, miniaturized technology. Far-reaching use of techniques such as data mining, audiovisual surveillance, automated behavioural analysis, see-through body scanning, DNA profiling etc. is being legislated at a disturbing rate. While governmental and corporate use of these technologies is consistently pushed further into the realms of daily life, the opposite seems to be the case for civilians: technologies can only be used under firm restrictions, or are simply not accessible. Data mining for example is widely used by corporations, while the same activity when carried out by an individual is too easily labelled “hacking.”
Regardless of activist groups continuously questioning these issues, the wider public does not appear to be well-informed. The complexity, diversity and speed of current technological developments can be daunting. Moreover, many of these developments and techniques are applied in secrecy and can hardly be discerned by an untrained eye. This automatically raises vital questions about contemporary civil liberties and the relation between civilians and government. If most techniques only become visible after we transgress the law (e.g. introduced as evidence), should we be worried at all? Or should we rather strive for a fully transparent society based on accountability, where the “watchers” can also be watched, at all times?
Translucent Futures hopes to keep the attention to the imperative problem of eroding civil liberties in modern hi-tech society. The project is set up in close collaboration with FoAM in Brussels and the support of a growing list of other cultural organisations (Nadine, Brussels; The Hub Brussels; Arteconomy etc.). The objective is to combine open collaborative research, multidisciplinary dialogue, artistic practice and activism.