Initially the project began in a collaborative journey of learning and creativity. Cyber security is a hidden digital ‘thing’ where the work explored materials with properties outside of the visible electromagnetic spectrum and use them to produce hidden images. This idea resulted in artworks focusing on information that is not visible/understandable but then due to a change in perspective the information appears. Tools were provided to ‘decode’ the exhibition.
‘Steal The Shown’ forms a trail of (6) pieces of work, created by Nick Lewis and Mel Bacon, forming a representation of the Data that is often stolen through phishing scams and malware. These pieces of information are often hidden in plain sight or given freely.
- Email address – input into any sign-up sheet online
- Password – often used across multiple sites
- Date of Birth – shown on profiles and input into sign-up sheets
- Debit card numbers – input to make purchases
- Bank details – stored on purchase website such as amazon
- Password clues – “cat” can be used to guess passwords
The of the art works are all displayed in a way that requires looking at them with a different perspective using interactive art to complete a puzzle to teach about Phishing scams. The ideas progressed so that the separate pieces formed a hunt and find style trail around the gallery.
To create a connection between each piece of work it was suggested that it was the information of one specific person, however as using real details would potentially cause harm, a fictional character was created. The entire persona was created based on a Date of Birth as a specific number of special lights to create a layout pattern were needed. The limit was 300 LEDs so 21/10/1961 was chosen as it used 259 leds, which gave enough spare in case of malfunctions.
Alongside this date two of the most commonly used names, Michael and John and the most common Surname of Smith were selected creating a name of Mike J Smithson.
A number for his debit card was randomly generated and an email address created to be sure that no real person would be contacted email@example.com. The password was created based on the password requirements of a capital letter, a lowercase letter, a number and a punctuation mark. The birth month flower (of Marigold which is also a female name) was used creating a password of Marigold.61
The title of the combination of works was suggested to be ‘Steal the Show’ or ‘Cyber Art’ so that each one could be linked together with a logo. The title evolved to ‘Steal the Shown’ to be more aligned to the concept.
Insidious cyber world
Creeping behind your back
Seeking out your secrets
To pop in your cyber pack
Kitty the Kat you talk about
The first pet that you had
Phished for as your PORNSTAR NAME
A thrill for feeling bad
Remember your mother’s maiden name
Family memories make you smile
All those special birthday dates
The hackers grab with guile
Messages from your ‘providers’
Gas, electric, phone for real
“Just return your bank details
To get a special deal”
Find us in exhibits
Hidden in plain sight
Layers of encryption
The cyber world is bright
Grabbing bytes of data
The AI bots have spoken
Reflections of your universe
In Cyber Eyes Wide Open
Layering information visibility
Different levels and layers of information visibility, representing the hiding and obscuring of information with different approaches to seeing it. Likely to be interactive and/or require active engagement. The artwork will have a series of linked information reveals, for example panels that appear blank yet where the image can be seen by shining a UV light on it that is then reflected in a mirror panel and then as a polarised screen, etc. providing a hidden meaning changed from the original image.
The final pieces in this project produced artworks and mirrors to explore how distorted, distributed information can be reflected into comprehensible messages. Through positioning mirrors in certain points, what appears to be innocuous patterns could for example turn into a hidden, jumbled up password that could enable access to another interaction / exhibit, etc.
Artist and Lecturer
Advantex Network solutions Ltd