HEIST: a world-first chatroom art exhibition from Mytetra

The HEIST Exhibition on 10th December 2020 used a genuine internet space, the hacker chatroom, to show original contemporary art.

See all coverage of the HEIST exhibition here.

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HEIST is a group show about plagiarism, theft and translation between digital mediums that questions the endless transference of ownership in our era of daily remix on the Internet. 

Text based artworks will be presented via a live browser-based chatroom in the classic green-on-black hacker text aesthetic.


A high profile selection of 14 artists of various ‘Internet generations’ will exhibit their unique take on the shared motivation: to create original artworks themed on counterfeiting or stealing art.

Participating artists: A. Nunez,  Billy Colours,  Chloe Curry,  Finnian Moore, Jemma BanksJessica Quinlan,  Julian Brown,  Mernywernz,  MOOGZ,  Osian Jenaer,  Paola Vertemati,  Robert Good, Scott Bowley  and  Tom Unlikely.

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Mytetra’s latest online browser-based exhibition is an accessible demonstration of esoteric tech that has been around for 3 decades: the command-line interface*, ASCII art** and the Internet Relay Chat (IRC) protocol***. In addition the exhibition incorporates cloud and virtualization technology bringing the tech right up to date.


*A command-line interface (CLI) processes commands to a computer program in the form of lines of text. The program which handles the interface is called a command-line interpreter or command-line processor. Operating systems implement a command-line interface. The HEIST chartroom will be using the open-source Linux operating system. 

**ASCII is the text we see every day on the internet and is a technical schema describing how to communicate digitally.  Each letter in every global alphabet has a corresponding ASCII code which computers use to portray language. By reusing this ASCII code to create images, the rendering of complex visual material is made reusable within a text-only paradigm.  The images change state to text.

***The internet environment the artworks are portrayed in is a  hacker-friendly IRC chatroom where software piracy and casual cybercrime are common bedfellows.

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To participate in the HEIST chatroom go to www.heistart.com once loaded it will automatically open, entering the green text on black chatroom environment.

At 6:30pm London time, the chatroom will open for a reception for mingling and chat between the artists and audience.

The exhibition will begin at 7:30pm, and the first work will be introduced with a programme note and the ASCII rendering of the work will be pasted into the chatroom; this will be an uninterruptible stream of text to fit the screen.


After the ASCII artwork has finished being pasted, the audience can comment on it and share their thoughts with one another and the artists.This stream of artworks and chatter will continue for 20 minutes.

When the  exhibition finishes there will be a show of ASCII artworks made by software pirates and hackers since the late 1980s.ASCII art has been prevalent in the hacker and 1990s internet subculture but has had limited opportunity to be presented in a formal artistic context.

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HEIST is curated by MOOGZ of Mytetra. 

“An authentic art heist would require a crew where each contributor brings a unique skill:  HEIST continues this pattern by collecting multidisciplinary artists which I’ve had the privilege to connect within London, Berlin and Cambridge.  Each city brings a unique angle to HEIST to provide a clique-within-a-crew collective mentality. The combination of a diverse range of expert practitioners to produce works which are distilled down to the most basic element of digital communication, text, gives us a melting pot of talent and lateral thinking.” 

We talked to curator Moogz about the upcoming exhibition Stolen artworks exhibited in a hacker chatroom. - FAD Magazine



14 multidisciplinary artists of various 'Internet generations' make up the HEIST crew brought together from Berlin, Cambridge and London by HEIST curator, MOOGZ. 



Painter & Social Artist

Mernywernz produces works in a variety of mediums including murals, painting using watercolour and acrylic, assemblage, model making  and works on paper to create funny and incisive social commentary.