Like many of the net-based works of the Swiss artist duo Wachter and Jud, New Nations illustrates the power structures of the Internet. The work is a router designed to display the limits of the freedom of the digital-communications community. While nations and governments have their own control areas (.de, .fr, .ch, .com, .mil, .gov), there are no official top-level domains for unrecognized communities such as the Tibetans (.ti), Kurds (.ku), Uyghurs (.uu) and Tamils (.te). In order to make tangible the political power interests that the virtual world shapes in the background, the artists set up their own domain-name server (DNS), which corresponds to the website www.new-nations.net. Via DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol), the router automatically links the connected computer with the DNS server New Nations. If the user does not change the network settings on his/her computer, the websites of the above-named top-level domains remain inaccessible.
Christoph Wachter (*1966), Zurich, Switzerland
Mathias Jud (*1974), Zurich, Switzerland, they live and work in Berlin.
Since 2000, Christoph Wachter and Mathias Jud have worked together on participatory joint projects that illustrate Internet censure and the limits of the digital-communications community. Their interventions question, for example, the degree of our online freedom, the digital divide and the controls that determine what we can see. With works like Zone Interdite (2000–), [ o ] picidae (2007–), New Nations (2009–) or Can you hear me? (2014), the two artists reveal images of restricted areas and create open, independent communication networks that are available to all. In this way, they invite us to reflect upon new courses of action and provide tools to overcome censorship.