Anon Collective – Book of Anonymity


Punctum Books, ISBN: 978-1953035301, English, 486 pages, 2021, USA

If you want to compile a coherent anthology of texts on anonymity, the question of authorship of the individual chapters arises. To encourage collective (and thus anonymous) citation, this book has found a solution: publishing these essays in semi-anonymous form. As such, you read the chapters without the author’s name, but you can access information about contributors at the end of the book. Although most of the chapters take the form of academic papers, some are interventions by artists in the form of a list, a manifesto, a documentation of a performance, a photographic essay or other. The endless tension between anonymity and identification is presented in four sections curated by the editors, who collectively have backgrounds in anthropology, sociology, design and curation. Drawing on a wide range of disciplines, from criminology and computer science, to media and art theory, a controversial picture is painted that includes, for example, strategies for hiding capital to evade taxes as well as tools for detecting crime. This underlines the conclusion that anonymity is not just about surveillance or identity, but about all the many different contexts that require a known interlocutor, with all the possibilities and consequences when this knowledge is withheld. This book, published as open access, is a rich and knowledgeable collection, but it is also an experiment.