Transparency Grenade

Network intervention and exposure device, 2012

Julian Oliver (NZ)

07.08.15 – 01.11.15

Transparency Grenade

The lack of corporate and governmental transparency has been a topic of much controversy in recent years, yet the only tool for encouraging greater openness is the slow, tedious process of policy reform.

Presented in the form of a Soviet F1 Hand Grenade, the Transparency Grenade is an iconic cure for these frustrations, making the process of leaking information from closed meetings as easy as pulling a pin.

Equipped with a tiny computer, microphone and powerful wireless antenna, the Transparency Grenade captures network traffic and audio at the site that the pin is pulled, and securely and anonymously streams it to a dedicated external server where it is mined for information. Email fragments, HTML pages, images and voice recordings are extracted from this data are then presented on an online, public map, shown at the location of the detonation.

Whether trusted employee, civil servant or concerned citizen, greater openness was never so close at hand...


Julian Oliver is a New Zealander, critical engineer and artist based in Berlin. Julian’s work often focuses on software art, data forensics, creative hacking, computer networking, counter-surveillance, augmented reality, virtual architecture, video game development, and information visualisation, amongst other things. His work and lectures have been presented at many museums, galleries, international electronic-art events and conferences, including Tate Modern in London, Transmediale in Berlin, Chaos Computer Congress, Ars Electronica in Austria, and the Japan Media Arts Festival. Julian has received several awards, most notably the distinguished Golden Nica at Prix Ars Electronica 2011 for the project Newstweek (with Daniil Vasiliev).

Q and A

What is your favourite dark corner of the internet?

Sometimes silence speaks volumes — it also makes us want to know more.

What are the geographic coordinates of your favourite secret place?

The artist has chosen not to disclose this information. We only would have shared it with you.

What kinds of private information do you think will be valuable in 2050?

We are encouraging you to speculate on this as the artists has not revealed his thinking to us.