No Secrets!

The Allure and Hazards of Monitoring Ourselves

Exhibition. Lectures.

23 March – 16 July 2017


All around the world we’re online, digitally connected as never before and at the same time we deplore the loss of our privacy. Paradoxically, we ourselves are to blame because it is our day-to-day routines that contribute to this phenomenon. We generate a flood of digital information that feeds existing and future surveillance systems. The results of big data analyses have long been used by security agencies, insurance and IT companies, big business and the pharmaceutical industry.

We willingly use apps, trackers and sensors to monitor ourselves. From hormones to heart rates, from sleeping patterns to mood swings, we attempt to optimize our lives by recording personal data. We want to be thinner, healthier and more productive and want our lives, day in and day out, to be as efficient and comfortable as possible. These practical digital aids are the welcome quick fix to those longings. Behavioral patterns, characteristics and idiosyncrasies are recorded and analyzed. We take the consequences in stride or ignore them entirely. As a popular activity tracker’s marketing slogan so aptly puts it: »We know you better than you know yourself«.

The data we divulge today, consciously or not, determines the way we will view ourselves in the future. This is because current methods of monitoring data not only show us and others where we are now but also increasingly influence where we are headed and how we will conduct ourselves in the future.

In the »No Secrets!« project, which the ERES Foundation is putting on in association with the Munich Stadtmuseum, scientists and artists will be shedding light on this current situation and asking pertinent questions. How can this widespread acceptance of surveillance be explained? Can this development be evaded without forgoing a lifestyle that is the norm? What dangers lie in this trend toward transparency? And in this digital world we now inhabit, do we have the right to forget?

The exhibition consists of ten contemporary artists presenting videos, photography, installations and textile art in which they address the topic of biometric technology.

Accompanying the exhibition is a catalog (160 pages) with numerous illustrations as well as essays by Dietmar Kammerer, Klaus Mainzer, Frank Pasquale, Daniela Stöppel, Diana Tamir and others.


Trevor Paglen, DMSB 5B/F4 from Pyramid Lake Indian Reservation (Military Meteorological Satellite: 1973-054A), 2009
© the artist, Courtesy Kunstsammlungen Augsburg, H2 – Zentrum für Gegenwartskunst