[Event Report] The Glass Room Exhibition (Community Edition), Bengaluru 2019

The first-ever edition of the global pop-up exhibition “The Glass Room” to be held in India was hosted by The Bachchao Project in Bengaluru from 22 to 24 November, 2019. The exhibition was a part of the art gallery event Art Bengaluru 2019.

The three-day exhibition attracted more than 300 visitors, and was supported by 15 trained volunteers. Visitors were also offered the Data Detox.

The Glass Room is a public intervention that provides an interactive, fun, and challenging experience, bringing to life the most pressing challenges facing people and the tech industry today. As technology reaches a global scale and becomes embedded in every part of our lives and our environments, The Glass Room examines its impacts and helps visitors explore practical solutions to mitigate them. The consequences of a “move fast and break things” industry are catching up with us and now we must examine what has been lost and gained along the way. The Glass Room is curated by Tactical Tech, an international NGO based in Berlin.

Exhibits titled “Zuckerberg’s House”, “Alphabet’s Empire” and “The Life of a Selfie” were especially popular amongst the visitors, one of whom wrote, “I know some of the information before (e.g., Zuckerberg’s buy out) but this is way comprehensive [sic] and concise”. Feedback received from the visitors shows that they appreciated the exhibition “for showcasing the need to privacy and bringing digital awareness to the mass audience” and for “creating awareness of the digital footprints we leave”. Some visitors said that they wished to see some exhibits contextualised for the Indian data privacy scenario and audience in the future, while some others wished for a larger exhibition and more exhibits.

Visitors who received the Data Detox kits found them “very interesting and informative” and that “it was scary to realise how much [data] is up for sale like [mentioned in] the [Data Detox] booklet”. Most visitors also stated that they looked forward to taking the 8-day Detox Challenge. Around 150 Data Detox kits were distributed at the event.

The Data Detox Bar at The Glass Room Exhibition
The Data Detox Bar at The Glass Room Exhibition

The response of the visitors to The Glass Room, Community Edition indicates that it was an interesting and valuable experience for them, and the Complete Edition would be well-received,  “[We need] many more such installations at many more art exhibitions.” 

At The Bachchao Project we believe that conversations on digital privacy and security must move beyond policy-making and civil society spaces to reach and include the general public. The Glass Room Exhibition is a brilliant medium to have these conversations. Our strongest motivation for hosting The Glass Room was to bring this medium of having conversations about the interplay between technology and privacy to India. In the years to come we hope to continue to host these kinds of events in different parts of the country, with more India-specific content.