Built by the design collective Metahaven, the project Black Transparency questions how information is organized globally and what role the concept of transparency occupies within it. This book engages transparency's junctions with design, architecture, and pop culture through Metahaven's research on technology, structures of information, networks and the Internet.
A Google executive once said: “If you want to liberate a society just give them the Internet.” But how does one liberate a society that already has the Internet? Publicly, modern government adheres to the twin ideals of institutional transparency and personal privacy. In reality, while citizens are subjected to mass surveillance, government practice goes unchecked. A new generation has taken to the Internet to defend the right to governance without secrets. From Bradley Manning and WikiLeaks to LulzSec and Anonymous, from the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative to the revelations of Edward Snowden, a coalition is breaking through the secrecy that lies at the core of the modern state. The story gets more complex when open government is contrasted with black transparency, and when a geopolitical rift between the West and Russia becomes the dividing line for whistleblowers and transparency activists seeking refuge. What is transparency for one may be propaganda for the other.
Metahaven is an Amsterdam-based research and design collective on the cutting blade between politics and aesthetics. Metahaven's work—both commissioned and self-directed—reflects political and social issues in provocative graphic design objects. Metahaven has been supporting WikiLeaks through their graphic design work. Its work has been published and shown world wide.