Manuel Schmalstieg

In 1999, the Swiss population was informed of the existence of the ONYX project - a spying programme run by the Swiss secret service, whose task is to scan and analyse international satellite traffic (e-mail, fax and telephone communications).

In 2002, while studying the diplomatic relations between Switzerland and the US in the aftermath of 9/11 and the Afghanistan campaign, N3KROZOFT agents carried out an in-depth analysis of the technological potential and risks of ONYX, which was then in its test phase. The results of this research were presented during 2003 to a wide audience through a series of multimedia installations, including video footage from the different antenna fields, an aural archive of encrypted satellite feeds and parliamentary debates around the legality of this project.

For the “Spectrum Allocation” conference, N3KROZOFT chairman Manuel Schmalstieg will give an overview of the project's history and reflect on the important changes that occurred during the past three years: since the beginning of 2006, the ONYX system became fully operative, the number of antennas has been doubled, and first diplomatic intercepts have caused international uproar.

Manuel Schmalstieg (Switzerland). Born in 1976, Manuel Schmalstieg operates on the borderline between video, performance and software art. After experimentation in the fields of graphic novel, animation film and audio production that he carried out during his studies in Geneva (ESBA/atelier zero1) and Krakow (Academy of fine arts/animated film department), he turns at the end of the nineties towards realtime video. Through his performances and installations, he explores issues of surveillance, control and censorship, confronting the viewer with uncomfortable truths and concealed motivations.
Recent works: BABEL PROJECT (new media workshop, in the frame of the 2nd Bucharest Biennale, Romania, 2006). NO SIGNAL (video surveillance piece for public screen, Geneva central station, 2006). LOL – laughing out loud (media performance, developed for the swiss digital arts foundation «sitemapping.ch». Presented in Paris (Galerie Les Voûtes), Belgrade (Galerie SKC), Basel (Plug.In), St-Gallen (Neue Kunst Halle). ). HAMLET.3.1 (software, RUNME festival 2004). BALKAN PROMENADE (audio-visual performance, presented in Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia-Montenegro and Slovenia, 2004).

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