11th Gwangju Biennale
2. 9. – 6. 11. 2016




Information Skies is a new online video by designers and artists Metahaven (founded by Daniel van der Velden, b. 1971, Rotterdam/Amsterdam, and Vinca Kruk, b. 1980, Leiden/Amsterdam) . In this cinematic adventure, one can wander through the mountains of the Black Forest in a narrative that addresses the constancy of virtual reality, in a potential future where this technology has become omnipresent. Overlapping plateaus of doubt about lived experiences and individual claims to reality, Information Skies stresses the possibility of a class war potentiated by technological sublimation. Metahaven has also developed a mural for the facade of the Biennale halls, and designed the two publications accompanying GB11 as well as a blog. The mural is showing a “crying mother”, one of the portrayed manga characters that appears through the narrative of the film amongst other virtual reality lanscapes.

Metahaven breaks down the modernist grid to push incongruity and anti-branding across all platforms. In 2010, it published Uncorporate Identity, a near-manifesto on the relationship between design and power. Framed as a criticism of the corporate-style branding of democratic and not-so-democratic nation-states, the book seeks to dismantle branding itself. “A brand is a socially and economically sustained form of prejudice,” Metahaven told Rhizome in 2013. “Branding is the management of first impressions, and to that end, it is inherently deceitful.” Metahaven has since pursued music videos and filmmaking in an essayistic, whilst visually opulent approach, producing the 2015–16 documentary The Sprawl (Propaganda About Propaganda), to which Information Skies is in some ways an afterthought, or sequel.

Metahaven has produced merchandising for WikiLeaks (2011), a visual identity for “datahaven” mini-state Sealand in the North Sea (2003–04), and the visual communication for Stockholm’s Tensta konsthall since 2011. They are at once pirates on the rogue waters of the Internet, designers of academia for the Valiz Antennae Series and Sternberg Press, and artists featured at MoMA PS1, Manifesta 8, and the Gwangju Design Biennale. MM + KVM


Metahaven, collective of artists and designers founded by Vinca Kruk and Daniel van der Velden in 2007. Specialized in the convergence between aesthetics and politics, and interested in the common ground between art, design, and cinema in an internet age.

Important experiences

2010: Our first book Uncorporate Identity and partipation in Manifesta8 in Murcia, Spain. Meeting Laura Cugusi, Nida Ghouse, and Lina Attalah for the first time, and working until 5AM every morning with almost no infrastructure or technical staff, but in a magical atmosphere. Curators: Bassam El Baroni and Jeremy Beaudry.

2010-2011: Student protests in London, Arab Spring, UK Riots, Occupy, and protest march against far-right inspired austerity programs in the Netherlands.

2011: Meeting with WikiLeaks founders and staff at Ellingham Hall, Norfolk, kicking off our design work for them. Participation in the Gwangju Design Biennale with the first iteration of the WikiLeaks project, Transparent Camouflage. Participants are flown in from all over the world to give five-minute speeches.

2012: Announced release of our new book Black Transparency is postponed.

2013: Black Transparency is postponed again. Shows in New York: MoMA PS1 (Islands in the Cloud, solo) and Artists Space (Frozen Lakes, group).

2014: Our short film City Rising is released, with models from Constant’s New Babylon. Visit to Tensta centrum in Stockholm with Asrin Haidari. Intense collaboration with Holly Herndon and Mat Dryhurst on Call, Home, Interference, and Platform. Black Transparency is postponed again.

2015: Holly Herndon’s Platform is released, Black Transparency is finally released. Working on our first film The Sprawl (Propaganda About Propaganda). Juha van ‘t Zelfde commissioner with Lighthouse. The Sprawl opens at YBCA, San Francisco, curated by Ceci Moss.

2016: The Sprawl (Propaganda About Propaganda) premieres at Internation Film Festival Rotterdam. Its web version, sprawl.space is launched. The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty, by friend and collaborator Benjamin H. Bratton, is published with the MIT Press (with our cover). Working on the Gwangju Biennale with our colleagues Kees de Klein, Dongyoung Lee, Tereza Ruller, Janna Ullrich and Carmen Dusmet Carrasco, and with curators Maria Lind, Margarida Mendes, Binna Choi, Michelle Wong, and Azar Mah. The the8thclimate.org is launched. Information Skies, our new film, is in preparation.