Lukas Engelhardt (1991, Hamburg) is interested in the tactics, terms and conditions necessary to negotiate and maintain semi-autonomous spaces—both online and offline. He builds, breaks and fixes servers for himself and for others and is a member of the Amsterdam-based squatting collectives Hotel Mokum and Mokum Kraakt. In 2022 he finished his MFA at the Design Department at the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam.

With the Artsformation grant, Lukas Engelhardt (DE) and his team of friends Ada Reinthal and Paul Bille will work on the project ‘Squatting the Cloud’. Many cultural groups, foundations and collectives want to leave the commercial cloud, but the hurdle is high. Self-hosting, like squatting, is a way to refuse the platforms and policies that keep producing inequalities and injustices. The work specifically targets groups that fall somewhere in between individuals and companies with IT departments.

Engelhardt and friends will further develop an online resource around self-hosting that is based on the squatting philosophy of spaces. Their goal is to create awareness on the materiality of the cloud and how to occupy the commercialised cloud. In the exhibition, the prototype server as a sculpture will be shown, with the manuals to be taken home with for free. ‘Squatting the Cloud’ will consist of step-by-step manuals, from picking hardware to setting up web and file servers, while also giving context to the political dimensions of such a practice.

The Artsformation commission on Engelhardt’s submitted work: ‘Squatting the Cloud stands out because its first experience is sculptural, whilst the materiality of information storage tends to be forgotten and assumed immaterial in "the cloud". This work expands the accessibility of local information storage and offers an alternative to servers that serve corporate interests.’