Bio

Nye Thompson (b. 1966) is an artist turned software designer turned artist. She is known for her experimental software architectures exploring network-embedded power dynamics and machinic visions of the world.

Following a Fine Art degree at YBA-era Goldsmiths, Thompson took a sideways step to immerse herself in the newly-created World Wide Web. She spent the next two decades designing software, focused on the human-machine interface and big data analytics. In 2012 she returned to art college to do an MA, subsequently quitting her corporate software career to become an artist. Thompson is based in the UK and operates between London and mid-Wales.

She initially came to public attention in 2016 with her first solo show Backdoored.io, an exploration of the secret life of security cameras and the global phenomenon of self-surveillance. The exhibition – described by C4 News as “too shocking to broadcast” – became global clickbait and triggered an international government complaint.

Since then, Thompson has exhibited around the UK, Europe and the Far East, including Tate Modern, The Barbican, The Louvre, The V&A, ZKM Karlsruhe, Ars Electronica and The Lowry. Thompson was the recipient of the Lumen Prize Gold Award 2021 for her short film UNINVITED, made in collaboration with UBERMORGEN. Her work has been featured on BBC, C4, CNN Hong Kong, the Guardian and Wired, and she was guest presenter on BBC Radio 4’s ‘The Art of Now: Surveillance’. V&A Museum National Collection, international and UK private collections.

“Nye Thompson attempts to reveal to us the visual nature of the physical and virtual internet. In this journey she shows us beautiful things. I see her as rather like a contemporary Jacques Cousteau, the 1970’s TV marine biologist. She is showing us glimpses of quite extraordinary networks, structures, debris and possibilities that somehow we know exist but ordinarily we have no access to. Thompson is an important member of a new generation of artists who are opening up ideas and concepts, which are transforming our society. The role of the artist in issues affecting free speech connected with the digital age is quite daunting. Institutions want to harvest our data but when we want access to that data, artists and activists start going to prison from Ai Wei Wei to Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning. Thompson reminds us that the past and the future is about controlling imagery. The artist’s role in the mediation of that imagery is now more than ever contested. ”

Bob & Roberta Smith Artist, Royal Academician, Trustee for the National Campaign for the Arts, and a Patron of the National Society for Education in Art and Design.

“Nye Thompson is the new Big Brother”