The Republic of Null Island

Simon Weckert
Simon Weckert
The Republic of Null Island

Curated by
!Mediengruppe Bitnik

26 February–22 March 2024
Aksioma | Project Space, Ljubljana

Part of Tactics&Practice #15: (Un)real Data – Real Effects

The physical site where the equator and the zero meridian intersect is marked with a stationary buoy in the middle of the ocean. The buoy is located in international waters off the coast of Western Africa and indicates the GPS coordinates 0° N, 0° E. This isolated and barren location in open water is far away from land and human habitation and interaction.

In virtual data space, however, it is a place full of life and activity, with ample accommodation capacities and spaces for sports and leisure, a site where fond holiday memories are made. This is because data that cannot be assigned to its correct geographic location is processed with the geographic values of 0, 0 and automatically assigned to 0° N, 0° E. Such errors arise, for example, when the geoposition of an uploaded image cannot be identified. The image is then assigned a latitude and longitude of “0, 0” by default.

Therefore, in data space, geographical zero is an ever-growing collection of faulty data from smartwatches, photo-sharing sites, booking apps and mapping services. With The Republic of Null Island, Simon Weckert gives the virtual data space a physical manifestation. The installation not only brings null data into view but also geo-spoofs visitors to The Republic of Null, where they can browse the accumulated data and add their own, which is automatically assigned the coordinates of Null Island.Simon Weckert uses The Republic of Null Island to imagine physical voids and show how they connect to the realities created by the data that manifests there.


The Map Becomes the Territory – Street 3.0
28 February 2024
ALUO/Tobačna, Ljubljana


Simon Weckert enjoys sharing knowledge in a wide range of fields, from generative design to physical computing. His focus is the digital world – including everything related to code and electronics in connection to the reflection on current social aspects, ranging from technology-oriented examinations to the discussion of current social issues. He seeks to assess the value of technology, not in terms of actual utility but from the perspective of future generations, and uses technology in the digital space to cleverly impact the physical space, all the while creating some playful mischief. The outcomes are technological systems, installations and hybrid objects that strive to make complicated issues accessible. 


!Mediengruppe Bitnik (read: the not Mediengruppe Bitnik) are contemporary artists working on, and with, the internet. Their practice expands from the digital to affect physical spaces, often intentionally applying loss of control to challenge established structures and mechanisms. In the past, they have been known to subvert surveillance cameras, bug an opera house to broadcast its performances to people at home, send a parcel containing a camera to Julian Assange and physically glitch a building. In 2014, they sent a bot called Random Darknet Shopper on a three-month shopping spree in the darknets where it randomly bought items like keys, cigarettes, trainers and Ecstasy, and had them sent directly to the gallery space. !Mediengruppe Bitnik’s works are shown internationally, and the group has received various awards including the Swiss Art Award, the PAX Art Award and the Golden Cube from Dokfest Kassel.


Author: Simon Weckert
Curated by: !Mediengruppe Bitnik

Production of the exhibition: Aksioma – Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana, 2024

Part of the series: Tactics&Practice

Financial support: the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia and the Municipality of Ljubljana

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