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Section 4: Art in the Age of Surveillance






Get to Know


• These internationally-recognized tricksters created a logo and a range of other products for WikiLeaks, creating an identity that was uncensorable.


• The studio undermines contemporary graphic design tropes to investigate political and economic “design.”


• Metahaven takes shape as a conference, a publication, an interview, a product, a visual identity, a policy document, or a set of floating appearances on the Internet.

Whether it be using humor as a strategy for political disruption or investigating the visual identity of WikiLeaks, Metahaven has proved that there are no limits when it comes to the social impact and potential of graphic design. An advocate of Internet transparency, the Amsterdam-based design and research studio was founded by Vinca Kruk and Daniel van der Velden in 2007 and has since published a number of books and essays and exhibited worldwide. Metahaven’s work is both commissioned and self-directed, utilizing a mixture of satirical, conceptualist expressions such as logos, icons, symbols, and maps to investigate political and economic design. In their exhibition Islands in the Cloud (2013) at MoMa PS1 in New York, the duo displayed graphics similar to that of a new cloud-hosting enterprise based in Iceland, evoking recent Internet-freedom legal reforms and encouraging the use of such platforms to expose hidden truths of governments worldwide.