[spectre] Turbulence Artists' Studios: "Insurance.AES256" by Michael Takeo Magruder

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Wed Jun 29 19:34:57 CEST 2011

June 29, 2011
Turbulence Artists' Studios: "Insurance.AES256" by Michael Takeo Magruder

On July 28, 2010, WikiLeaks posted a link to an encrypted 1.4GB file entitled insurance.aes256 on its Afghan War Diary website. The file's appearance generated considerable speculation and debate as no official explanation was given about its contents or purpose. Countless individuals have downloaded it and redistributed on hard drives and servers spanning the world's vast unregulated file-sharing networks, virally embedding it into the fabric of the Internet and rendering it forever obtainable and impossible to eradicate. What knowledge (or secrets) will be uncovered within its cryptic digital form?

"Insurance.AES256" is a 2011 commission for "All that Fits: The Aesthetics of Journalism" curated by Alfredo Cramerotti and Simon Sheikh.


Michael Takeo Magruder (b.1974, US/UK) is an artist and researcher based in King’s Visualisation Lab, located in the Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London. His practice explores concepts ranging from media criticism and aesthetic journalism to digital formalism and computational aesthetics, deploying Information Age technologies and systems to examine our networked, media-rich world.

Michael's projects have been showcased in over 200 exhibitions in 30 countries, and his work has been funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Arts Council England and The National Endowment for the Arts, USA. He has been commissioned by numerous public galleries in the UK and abroad and by the leading Internet Art portal Turbulence.org. Several of his most well-known artworks have been included in Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art at Cornell University, USA.

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