17 February – 26 May 2024

Poetics of Encryption

curated by Nadim Samman

Diagonal clear PVC strip curtains cut the exhibition spaces into curatorial segments as transparencies of transgression. These permeable boundaries oscillates around flexible spatial formations.


Though we rely on digital tools for many things, we rarely understand how they work. Moreover, due to the proprietary nature of much corporate tech, even the most curious among us cannot gain deeper insight. Today, we are forced to come to terms with our relative lack of power in the face of inscrutable systems. What symptoms of this personal and political drama register in the cultural field? What moods, symbols, or narrative frames capture the aesthetics and politics of exclusion, occlusion, secrecy, and speculation concerning technology’s inside?

This extensive group exhibition at KW builds upon the recent book by Nadim Samman titled Poetics of Encryption: Art and the Technocene. It surveys an imaginative landscape marked by Black Sites, Black Boxes, and Black Holes—terms that indicate how technical systems capture users, how they work in stealth, and how they distort cultural space-time. These themes form the basis three chapters that play out across all gallery floors at KW. Spanning analogue and digital media, Poetics of Encryption features both historic and newly commissioned work by more than 40 international artists.


Partner in charge:
Jürgen Mayer H.

Project leader:
Mehrdad Mashaie

Leander von Meding 

Curator: Nadim Samman
Assistant Curator: Linda Franken
Curatorial Assistant: Lara Scherrieble

The exhibition architecture has been made in collaboration with KW Institute for contemporary Art, Berlin

Featuring artists: Nora Al-Badri, Morehshin Allahyari, American Artist, Emmanuel Van der Auwera, Gillian Brett, Émilie Brout & Maxime Marion, Juliana Cerqueira Leite, Julian Charrière, Joshua Citarella, Clusterduck, Juan Covelli, Kate Crawford & Vladan Joler, Sterling Crispin, Simon Denny, enorê, Roger Hiorns, Tilman Hornig, Rindon Johnson, Daniel Keller, Andrea Khôra, Jonna Kina, Oliver Laric, Eva & Franco Mattes, Jürgen Mayer H., Most Dismal Swamp, Carsten Nicolai, Simone C. Niquille, Trevor Paglen, Matthias Planitzer, Jon Rafman, Rachel Rossin, Sebastian Schmieg, Charles Stankievech, Troika, UBERMORGEN, Nico Vascellari, Zheng Mahler, among others. 



3361 3367 3362 3364 3359 3360 3369
Research Design Studio