Cryptome is a repository of some 44.3 gigabytes of documents on dual-use technologies, military facilities, freedom of expression, cryptography, and other issues relevant to contemporary and clandestine governance. Its stark, Courier interface offers little assistance for the intrepid, post-social media era user. Yet its bowels contain provocative details on the infrastructure that enables contemporary surveillance, among many other things. As a whole, Cryptome amounts to perhaps the largest archive of entirely-uncensored information around. (Wikileaks, in contrast, censors the leaks it releases).their work reveals and exposes the often invisible, yet deeply material, operations underpinning contemporary urbanity
How does this relate to architecture? For one, Natsios and Young are practicing architects based in New York City, who find few points of distinction between their work with Cryptome and their design practice, Natsios-Young Architects, which is deeply committed to the social values of architecture. And while Cryptome may be unadorned, Cartome, which is something of a sister archive, includes provocative videos, maps, and other designed material. But most importantly, their work reveals and exposes the often invisible, yet deeply material, operations underpinning contemporary urbanity.
Over the course of several weeks, I exchanged emails with Natsios and Young (Natsios is the primary author of the responses, and any use of first person is from her perspective). In this two-part interview, we discuss their background, their motivations, and their understanding of privacy in the twenty-first century city.