Since 2016, the app of the art project FREIHEIT 2.0 has been collecting anonymous movement profiles of its users via their smartphones.
A movement profile says a lot about a person. About your whereabouts, about how long you stay in one place, about your radius of movement and also about whom your are currently meeting. Motion profiles make our social environment visible. They show who we are friends with and what habits we have every day.
Additional metadata provide deep insights into a person's private life and enable perfect monitoring of each individual and a whole society.
SMARTPHONE STACKS is an artistic photo project. Florian Mehnert has stacked and photographed young people with their smartphones. (see also photo project REFUGEE STACK, 2016)
Behind the art project SMARTPHONE STACKS are important current questions:
Today, the smartphone is the main means of communication of the "digital natives". Much of the exchange takes place via WhatsApp, Snapchat and Instagram.
In what ways are smartphones changing not only the way we communicate, but also the quality of our communication?
Are Whatsapp and Instagram replacing differentiated discourse and personal conversation?
90% of over 959,000 apps in Google's Play Store track user behavior and deliver the data to a third-party network.
We live in the age of "surveillance capitalism" and the "privacy paradox".
Although we are aware of the destruction of our privacy and dignity, we agree to the collection of our behavioural data.
The SMARTPHONE STACKS visualize how the human being is reduced to a data raw material to be calculated.
They create a visual access to reflect on the role of the smartphone and our privacy.
The seminar will shed light on the background, the emergence and the current strategies of so-called surveillance capitalism. It begins with the birth of the Internet and leads vividly and profoundly through the complex backgrounds and strategies of the monetization of our data, up to the deep conflicts with the European guiding ideas. The seminar closes with an interactive art installation. (shown in the projection in the background)
The exhibition of the Smartphone Stacks was opened on 27.9.2019 with a panel discussion moderated by Florian Mehnert. Three models of the project discussed together with Dr. Stefan Brink (State Commissioner for Data Protection of Baden-Württemberg) and Prof. Dr. Horst Niesyto (Media Education) about the handling of the smartphone in the age of the privacy paradox. How important is privacy for the digital natives? For which moments does the analogue remain important?
Virtual, networked, analog. Expert Day on Arts, Cultural and Political Education in the Digital Change
On June 20, 2019, around 80 experts met at the Genshagen Foundation to discuss the effects of digital change in art, culture and society.
Florian Mehnert spoke here about "Dataism versus freedom 2.0".
Positions from the contemporary arts, cultural education and educational research were presented and brought into dialogue with political education. Spaces for design that make new experiences possible through the arts and education were explored, the fusion of the digital and analog worlds into new hybrid forms was identified, digital maturity was controversially discussed, and phenomena associated with digitization, such as the need to reorganize hierarchies, were discussed.
Adapting Copyright to the Digital Environment in the EU: the impossible reform?
Straßbourg, February 14th, the Center for International Intellectual Property Studies of the University of Strasbourg organized in partnership with the Strasbourg Biennale of Contemporary Art a round table on the topic “Adapting Copyright to the Digital Environment in the EU: the impossible reform?”.
The round table took place at the Café of the Strasbourg Biennale of Contemporary Art, Hôtel des Postes, within the framework of the Biennale dedicated to the citizen in the digital world. Florian Mehnert was talking togehter with Julia Reda, Prof. Christophe Geiger, Yasmina Khouaidjia and Giancarlo Frosio.
FREEDOM 2.0 SATELLITE is an interactive multimedia sculpture and serves as an interdisciplinary digital mediation platform to provide understandable information about the new data protection laws as well as a deeper understanding of the consequences of the data economy (surveillance capitalism, BIG DATA). The sculpture consists of projected infographics and animations that convey a wide range of content on the subject of data protection and privacy. FREIHEIT 2.0 Satellite is a supplement to the FREIHEIT 2.0 project. The sculpture is modular and will also be available for loan to institutions.
October 2018, Art & Algorithms, NRW FORUM Düsseldorf
The series of events presents and discusses one artistic work on the topic of Big Data on each of three evenings at the NRW-Forum Düsseldorf. The first event on October 12, 2018 was hosted by the artist Florian Mehnert, who has repeatedly addressed the visualization and criticism of Big Data phenomena in his artistic work in recent years. The event was moderated by Dr. Harald Gapski (Grimme Institute).
The event series Art & Algorithms was organized by Prof. Manuel Zahn (University of Cologne) and Dr. Harald Gapski (Grimme Institute) in cooperation with the NRW-Forum, Düsseldorf. The series was sponsored by the Grimme Research College at the University of Cologne.
FREIHEIT 2.0, June 2018, Stuttgart Over a period of 4 weeks Florian Mehnert intervened in public space with his project FREIHEIT 2.0 Stuttgart. His data traces were virtual and analogous on the streets through the city center up to the newly opened Stadtpalais. For 4 weeks the interdisciplinary BIG DATA colloquia with speakers from the scientific community accompanied the project.
installation, motion profiles of the APP FREEDOM 2.0
An important element of the project FREIHEIT 2.0 is the app that anonymously stores movement profiles of its users. The app is available for free download in the app stores since 2016. In the meantime, many users have left their movement profiles all over Germany and beyond its borders in Europe.
“The Beauty of Privacy” is a project that aesthetically processes and visualizes human motion profiles.
Motion profiles are one of the most coveted data in the BIG DATA industry. They are collected every day by means of Smartphone Apps, Fitnesstrackers and Automobiles.
The motion profiles of “The Beauty of Privacy” are from anonymous users of the app FREEDOM 2.0, which is part of art project of the Florian Mehnert with the same name.
“The Beauty of Privacy” shows the aesthetic side of the disputed personal data: the beauty of the abstraction that anonymous motion profiles develop without georeferenced reference in their artistic processing.
Florian Mehnert stacks African refugees.
The stacks are his artistic response to current events.
The REFUGEE STACK points out that behind every refugee is a personal story,
an individual fate, a person with abilities and dreams.