A Cookbook of Invisible Writing by Amy Wu

A Cookbook of Invisible Writing

by Amy Wu

$28.00 Regular price $35.00

An introduction to analog steganography—a type of secret writing that is hidden in plain sight.

Dutch artist Amy Wu wrote, designed and illustrated this book, which contains invisible ink recipes and other hidden communication techniques that can be used to subvert surveillance and bypass censorship.

The spiral bound book is cheerfully bulky, like an oldXerox manual, and its wrap-around flap cover bundles it all together, affixed with a bright yellow rubber band. The book's contents are presented in a workshop format, and can act asa guide for engagement. For groups interested in alternative forms of communication, it can be used to develop poetic and playful forms of correspondence and nurture social bonds.

In the tradition of esoteric manuals published on secret writing, this 'cookbook' also channels the spirit of everyday access and the easy distribution and sharing of practical knowledge. Following Giambattista della Porta’s 1558 popular science book Natural Magic—one of the first major publications that detailed simple but diverse recipes of invisible inks for public consumption—this cookbook aims to bring this obscure field to a wider audience. The publication includes a critical essay about the history of surveillance through a feminist and postcolonial lens. The last chapter presents Wu’s own body of work that aims to revive analog techniques as a counter to today’s digitally surveilled mediascape.

  • Published by Onomatopee, 2019.
  • Spiral bound, 6.75 x 9.5 inches, 224 pgs.
  • Edition of 1200.
  • Printed at Art Libro, Helmond (NL).
  • 100 full color images, 28 black & white.

Amy Suo Wu was born in China, are up in Australia, and lives in the Netherlands as an artist and teacher. Her practice is an exploration into how to (re)activate, amplify and preserve erased or obscured histories in critical and playful ways. She is currently a graduation project supervisor at Experimental Publishing at Piet Zwart Institute, and teaches at Cultural Diversity at Willem de Kooning Academy, both in Rotterdam.

Recent solo and group exhibitions have been held at Artspace Ideas Platform, Australia; Drugo More, Croatia; Aksioma Institute for Contemporary Art, Slovenia; Kunsthaus Langenthal, Switzerland; I:projectspace, China; Seoul Mediacity Biennale, Korea; TENT Rotterdam and Showroom MAMA, the Netherlands.

She has lectured and facilitated workshops at Artez Graphic Design, Arnhem; Design Academy, Eindhoven; The Royal Academy of Art, The Hague; Gengdan Institute of Beijing University of Technology, Beijing; Mer Academy, Stuttgart; Academy of Fine Arts, Ljubljana; The Influencers Festival, Barcelona; and Mine, Yours, Ours Festival, Rijeka.