City of Possibilities

Anthea Lacchia

Science Editor

Trinity’s Science Gallery takes to the streets this summer. Running 22nd June to 8th September, the Hack The City exhibition is accompanied by countless events, workshops and interventions which ask visitors to reimagine our city – looking at current urban challenges and trying to find solutions. The local and international curatorial team includes artist and designer Teresa Dillon, hacker and TED speaker Josh Klein, Trinity CollegeEngineer Linda Doyle, Martin Kelly of IBM and Science Gallery Founding Director Michael John Gorman.

“With most of the world living in cities,” Gorman said, “we are becoming an urban species. This show seeks to apply the hacker mindset to Dublin with a view to improving our everyday lives and shaping the cities of the future.”

Minds need to be opened as well as eyes to really understand what is going on in Science Gallery exhibitions. Attention and curiosity are prerequisites and they will be accompanied by creative discussions with mediators, artists, scientists or curators.

Gorman hopes that “the show will demonstrate that by redesigning and rethinking how we navigate, share ideas and innovate in our cities, we can create an environment that inspires ideas and offers opportunities for creative collaboration.”

The exhibition will encourage visitors to reflect on new uses for Dublin’s ghost estates, view an augmented reality art exhibition on hijacked billboards by artist Evan Roth and dine in the city streets while connecting with their long lost neighbours in Street Feast.

But it’s not just Dublin that is being hacked. Benjamin Gaulon‘s 2.4GHz project uses a wireless video receiver to hack into wireless surveillance cameras: those who use the device broadcast the signal, often without realizing it. “Anyone with a receiver can get the signals,” he explains. Gaulon has placed several devices around Dublin and, during his 2.4GHz workshop, he will invite participants to record surveillance video signals and explore Dublin’s CCTV wireless networks. “There are different levels to this project, ” he says. On one level “it helps expose the failures and limitations of technology.”

"2.4Ghz" by Benjamin Gaulon (2008) lets you hack into Dublin's CCTV wireless networks. (Photo credit: Benjamin Gaulon)

You may have seen the pink markings on the ground outside Trinity’s sports centre or in Stephen’s Green. These are just some of Florian Rivière’s props from City is a Playground. Drawing on memories from his childhood games he makes use of lines on the pavement, old phone boxes and other objects from the street to create playful landscape art. “When I look at the city, I try to imagine it with different eyes to see what else it could become,” says Rivière.

Whether it’s hopping, skipping, hacking, dining or running along a track, Hack the City promises visitors a break from the monotony of the urban grind. In its invitation to “bend, tweak and mash-up Dublin’s existing urban systems” it offers an opportunity to step out of what is and “adopt a hacker mindset” to what could be.

HACK THE CITY opens in the Science Gallery today and runs until the eighth of September. A guide to the events is available here. It is one of the highlights of the Dublin City of Science Festival, a yearlong series of events in celebration of Dublin being designated as City of Science 2012 – for more on this, see