Security 1998
CANTV database, hacking on paper
157” x 157”

Security is massive data visualization based on sensitive data from CANTV, the largest phone company and Internet service provider of Venezuela. For many decades this company kept the monopoly of telecommunications in the South American country. Still today, it is one of the largest corporations of the Venezuela. In 1991, 40% of CANTV was acquired by GTE --now Verizon Communications, Inc. However, CANTV was nationalized by Hugo Chavez at the beginning of his government. In 1999, the database that contained the names, addresses, phone numbers, working places, and even checking accounts, credit cards, and expiration dates, was hacked and shown as a ‘public project’ called "Security" in the Iberoamerican Art Fair, which was sponsored by… CANTV. The data from the database was printed and displayed by juxtaposing the information from different angles, and creating a monumental image that shifts between geometry, mathematics, poetry, and concrete language.

Through this work it was developed a concept that the artist called datagram. In the computer lexicon, a datagram is the basic unit of information passed across the Internet. It contains a source and destination address along with data. Large messages are broken down into a sequence of IP datagrams. When they travel over the network, its arrival, arrival time, and content is not guaranteed. Similarly, but In the visual arts context, a datagram is a method to visualize information by displaying databases using a chaotic structure, showing them as wallpapers where printed pages are placed in different angles and interconnected by the subject of the data.
Despite the fact that CANTV is one of the most advanced companies in South America, supported by local and international security experts, what guarantees have the users regarding their electronic privacy/security when they give such sensitive information? Security moves around this question, revealing the fragility of the main private institution of Venezuela and showing how hacking can be a powerful tool to establish counter-corporate actions at the same time it expands the horizons of our culture.

go back