In her 2014 Kardashian Krypt project, Maddy Varner built a tool to encrypt and decrypt secret text messages within images, a technique known as steganography. By appropriating photographs from Kim Kardashian’s social media accounts and transforming them into carriers of encyrpted messages, Varner exploits the ubiquity of the celebrity’s distributed images to smuggle invisible content by hiding it in plain sight. Kardashian Krypt subversively plays with the anxieties and obsessions of being extremely online. Varner situates her project in between two momentous publishing occasions: one year after the Snowden Files had revealed the United States’ massive surveillance program (2013), and one year before Kim Kardashian published her long-awaited photobook Selfish (2015) comprising the selfie pictures she had posted on various social media sites.
In Subscription Services, Varner’s new work commissioned for SITUATIONS, the artist creates a performative email inbox correspondance, emphasising the ambiguities between spam and meaningful contact. The work continues Varner’s exploration of transparency and secrecy of online communication, in/visibility of text and code, and the tension of image and text in the digital and networked age.
To experience the work, please sign up here and receive Subscription Services directly in your email inbox.
Make sure to install Kardashian Krypt for Google Chrome here: chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/kardashian-krypt/iimkanmiajlnbbkcbhmdknlljngfipli
More by Maddy Varner: cargocollective.com/maddyv