New Imaginaries for Crypto Design

Group exhibition and lecture

New Imaginaries for Crypto Design

The Deep Web Needs New Metaphors

The Internet is often thought of in terms of naval metaphors. It can be thought of as a sea that can be surfed and navigated by search engines. Of course, metaphors are often meant to grasp something unfamiliar by comparing it to something familiar. One of the more dominant metaphors of the Deep Web is the iceberg. The top of the iceberg, above the surface of the water, represents the Surface Web. The Surface Web contains all the data that can be “explored” by search engines like Google, Yahoo, Opera or Bing. Diving below the surface leads you into the nether regions of the Deep Web, with a vast amount of data that cannot be indexed by any of the popular search engines.

In this iceberg metaphor, the part of the iceberg which is ‘below the water,’ shapes popular understanding of the Deep Web. As we all know, visual language, symbols and metaphors help us to describe, classify, and understand the world around us; they are crutches for our mind. Images are often more powerful and influential than the things they represent, think of the cloud or the envelope and trash can icon in your (web) mail. Images are crucial vehicles of meaning making and production. In turn, the image of the iceberg gives shape to the Surface Web, and affects how the Deep Web comes to mind. For many, the Deep Web seems inaccessible to ordinary internet users – a members-only club of tech savvy geeks, hackers and fishy figures.

Have you ever sent an email through webmail? Have you ever paid your share of a dinner bill to a friend via online banking? Watched a movie on Netflix? Read an article on a password-protected website? Unwittingly, many of us use the Deep Web on a regular basis.

How can we begin to understand the structures that facilitate all of these every-day actions? What visual interpretations shine a light on the deep waters to reveal a more nuanced picture than that of the iceberg? This exhibition dives into these lesser-known parts of the web in order to resurface with a trove of imaginaries and metaphors. Let’s decrypt the ‘deep’, enter its seemingly panic-room locked doors, explore its corridors, let light pour in and stale air escape.

This exhibition, organised by the the Institute of Network Cultures and NeMe was a result of an open call to artists, designers, researchers and visionaries who are creating new images of the Deep Web.

Patricia De Vries
10 March 2018
NeMe Arts Centre, Limassol

10 March – 7 April 2018
NeMe Arts Centre, Limassol, Cyprus

Institute of Network Cultures

Institute of Network Cultures


Jonas Althaus
Jeanine van Berkel
Anna Bleakley
Camilo Cezar
Félicien Goguey
Arantxa Gonlag
Juhee Hahm
Abdelrahman Hassan
Kimberley ter Heerdt
Jake Henderson
Julia Janssen
Nikki Loef
Melani de Luca
Gianluca Monaco
Julia la Porte
Roos du Pree
Renée Ridgway
Yinan Song
Carlo ter Woord
Amy Wu

Side programme featuring:

Patricia De Vries

Project coordinator: