Poetics of Encryption

Poetics of Encryption is an extensive art project curated by Nadim Samman lasting for nearly a full year at KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin, both in their physic and digital spaces. The project took form in three different stages: a conference, digital commissions and a group exhibition, apart from talks, workshops and tours. Sometimes Always was in charge in creating the full design system and communication for Poetics of Encryption. Over the course of a year, this system manifested across various media and scales, encompassing everything from the project’s website and exhibition to artwork wall tags and urban billboards. 

Poetics of Encryption explores how artists picture our relationship with inscrutable tech, through three thematic frames. Black Site, Black Box, and Black Hole. These metaphors address the way encrypted objects are negotiated in the course of everyday life, and the way they order concepts of embodiment—models for where an intelligent human is placed vis a vis the realm of digital secrets and/or hidden mechanisms. Problematising Silicon Valley claims regarding a new age of transparency and openness, a Poetics of Encryption toggles between enlightened concern and occult dreaming.

The group exhibition itself builds upon the recent book by Nadim Samman, Poetics of Encryption: Art and the Technocene (KW/Hatje Cantz, 2023). 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. The themes form the basis for three chapters that plat out across multiple gallery levels at KW in Berlin. Spanning analogue and digital media, Poetics of Encryption features both historic and newly commissioned work by more than 40 international artists.

Category: Visual Identity 
Location: Berlin, DE
Client: KW Institute for Contemporary Art
Collaborators: Solenn Robic, Anna Osterberg, Daan Lockhorst 
Year: 2023-204