The Work-Stay: Hamburg

Jaya Klara Brekke Imagines a Way Out of Surveillance Capitalism

Jaya Klara Brekke is an artist and cryptographic geographer whose work spans technology, academia, and the arts, always focusing on questions of power in emerging decentralized technologies, cryptographic techniques, and data economies. In mid-March, Brekke and her mentor at Forecast, digital policy expert Francesca Bria, met for a work-stay at The New Institute in Hamburg.

There, they finetuned Brekke’s project Dashboards for Posthuman Life, which will be unveiled at the Forecast Festival in Berlin, and presented the work in progress to The New Institute’s fellows. “What I'm hoping to achieve in the installation is to reveal some of the data flows, data economy, and data relationships that so often remain invisible to the average user,“ says Brekke. “We're at a point where people are aware that this is going on; people understand that we live in a context of surveillance capitalism.”

Francesca Bria (L) and Jaya Klara Brekke. Photo: Paul Rohlfs.
Jaya Klara Brekke. Photo: Paul Rohlfs

The work imagines fictional dashboards in a context in which technological and environmental catastrophes have shattered the idea of humans being in control of their destinies. For these dashboards, Brekke utilizes typical software development practices, such as user stories. But rather than generic users, these draw on theorists of the politics of data and algorithms. “I’m hoping to gain some overview over those dynamics and regain some decision-making power in terms of those dynamics. I want to try and open up the possibility for envisioning that,” she explains.

Video: Paul Rohlfs, Editing: Hannah Dörr, Sound Mix: Simon Peter. ©Forecast 2022

The work-stay was supported by the Goethe-Institut London and took place in collaboration with THE NEW INSTITUTE.