Chattr was a participatory art project that opened the debate on personal privacy in social media, just a few months before the Snowden story broke, revealing the extent to which government and corporate entities were listening to our conversations.

Chattr asked a challenging question; how far will we accept private conversations being captured and shared online? Chattr is a provocative design experiment that shared the private conversations of visitors to the event, online, during FutureEverything 2013. Choice will be like the ‘choice’ given us by the Internet firms. Sign up to our terms, or you do not get the service you desire – the luxury of the Chattr lounge.

Numerous internet companies operate by offering a service for free, in exchange for your personal data. Chattr was a newly commissioned artwork and provocative design experiment. It asks a deep question about the internet and our life online – how much of our data are we willing to leak into the public online domain?

A provocative experiment and artwork, Chattr gave participants a taste of what this world would be like. Mirroring the policies of social media platforms such as Facebook, visitors who do not consent are refused access to a service, those who did were given access to a special lounge offering comfort and free drinks to participants, in exchange for their broadcast of their private messages in public.

A team of artists, designers and ethicists were on hand to record and remix the conversations, and to study people’s response, in order to provoke debate on the challenging ethical questions posed by an always online world.

Chattr was a FutureEverything project supported by The Creative Exchange and the Arts & Humanities Research Council. It is by Ben Dalton, Drew Hemment, Elliot Woods, Mel Woods, Joel Porter, Lara Salinas and Joeli Brearley.

Chattr premiered at the FutureEverything Summit of Ideas & Digital Invention in March 2013, and was presented at TodaysArt in The Hague on 28th September 2013.