Cuckoo, Makesense, Gianmaria Vernetti

Cuckoo and the art of subverting social media

Reflections on privacy and network communications

Articles by Gianmaria Vernetti January 13, 2016

Privacy on social media is a hot topic, so why not reflect upon it in an unconventional way? Ladies and gentlemen, let’s introduce Project Cuckoo!

David Bowie was one of my favourite artists, and I obviously felt shocked hearing about his death. I was impressed as well about Bowie’s death impact on social media. It is undeniable that social media are an essential part of our daily life. Whether you like it or not, they are a powerful tool to interact, or at least that’s my opinion.

One of the most delicate aspects of social media is privacy. I am not a specialist, so I do not want to deepen this topic. I just remark that, as Marlon Brando said,

“privacy is not something that I’m merely entitled to, it’s an absolute prerequisite”.

A couple of days ago I was surfing on the web searching for some unconventional project focused on privacy and social media. On Neural magazine I found this really interesting project, called Cuckoo.

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Project Cuckoo has been developed by artist and designer Jochen Maria Weber and is a reflection on data collection, surveillance and control. It uses social networks infrastructures to hide users information and privacy. Project Cuckoo is based on a digital interface that encrypts social media messages into words, meanings and noises in a random way, spreading them over multiple social platforms simultaneously.

Each letter of the original message is translated into complex forms giving birth to new sentences. It is interesting to note that the encryption method can be changed with every new message.

As the creator states,

“Cuckoo combines social networks to build a hidden one on top of their infrastructure. An egg in the others’ nests”.

That makes sense to me. Project Cuckoo is a great way to subvert traditional interactions on social media giving birth to new creative approaches on network communications.

In this perspective, Project Cuckoo is one of the most inspiring works and it reminds me masterpieces such as Surveillance Chess by !Mediengruppe Bitnik and Google Will Eat Itself by Paolo Cirio, Alessandro Ludovico and Ubermorgen.

I truly think it makes sense.