Don't Judge a Book By It's Cover

Oct 10, 2018 by Lisa Scarpa

Today’s World-Wide Web isn’t what we think it is. Representing only a small percentage of what is ‘available’ on the internet, a simple search on Google is not enough to see everything that the Web abounds. The darknet is an anonymous encrypted network and constantly evolving. This web base is so deep, it really defines what we call “no mans land.” Nothing is traceable, causing several illicit online business profiles to hang around. Some items are so controversial that only the use of ultraviolet light applied to the computer screen reveals their content.

Italian artist Giorgio di Noto takes you on a journey into the dark side of the web in his new book, The Iceberg. When you open it, it does not tell you anything. In front of your eyes, hundreds of very airy pages are spread out, with many spaces, holes, gaps and white pages jumped and dotted with photos here and there, like the Internet, the darknet and the concept of the iceberg. The Iceberg gives an experience similar to an exploration of the darknet. Through these ultraviolet rays, hidden images of amphetamines, doubtful powders, hallucinogenic mushrooms, and other clandestinities are revealed. Who would have thought when you saw this ambiguous title and this classic painting on the cover? Remember, you should never judge a book by its cover.

The Iceberg - Giorgio Di Noto - Edition Patrick Frey from Giorgio Di Noto on Vimeo.

"I started studying darknet because I was interested in it as a way around censorship in some countries." To access the darknet, you need Tor, a free browser that can communicate anonymously. is easy enough to do, then I studied and spent time understanding how to surf the deep Web and find what I was looking for.The first access is very easy, which is a bit more complicated 'go further, because you do not have a standard search engine.

For this project, I focused on black markets and drug representations because I wanted to work with original images created and published only for the darknet by their users, images that no one can see on the Web. It's like an impossible archive of something that exists online just for a moment, that no one wants to archive or save. And in this case, these are images used to advertise drugs.

I was interested in how sellers used visuals and images to represent their products, and more generally, the kind of photos you can find in this anonymous and hidden area. I was particularly interested in the original photos made by the sellers themselves and public domain images (which are printed in black and white in the book); sometimes they are used as a metaphor or visual reference for their product. "

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