Julian Oliver discusses his work as a provocateur who uses engineering to explore questions of privacy, government and corporate transparency, and threat mitigation. His most recent projects provide the public with opportunities to directly confront these issues. “The Deep Sweep” centers around the design of a low-cost aerial signal intelligence platform the public can send into aerospace to probe for otherwise out-of-reach signals between land and stratosphere, with special interest in UAV/drone to satellite communication. “The Transparency Grenade” takes the form of a Soviet F1 Hand Grenade and makes it as easy as pulling a pin to leak information from closed meetings. Capturing network traffic and audio at the site, and securely streaming this information to servers where it is mined for information (such as hostnames, IP addresses, email fragments, and webpages), the data is presented online with the location of the “detonation.”
Julian Oliver is a New Zealander, Critical Engineer and artist based in Berlin. His work and lectures have been presented at many museums, galleries, international electronic-art events and conferences, including the Tate Modern, Transmediale, the Chaos Computer Congress, Ars Electronica, FILE and the Japan Media Arts Festival. Julian has received several awards, most notably the distinguished Golden Nica at Prix Ars Electronica 2011 for the project Newstweek (with Daniil Vasiliev).