Room 40

Room 40 is a video mapped installation investigating forms of digital surveillance by reconstructing GCHQ the British government intelligence agency through gathered second hand information with a soundtrack by Martin A. Smith.

During the WW1 the code breaking section of the Admiralty was known as Room 40.

GCHQ was originally established after the First World War as the “Government Code and Cypher School” and was known under that name until 1946. During the Second World War it was located at Bletchley Park, where it was famed for its role in the breaking of the German Enigma codes. In 2013, GCHQ received considerable media attention when NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed that the agency was attempting to collect all online and telephone data in the UK via the Tempora programme.

From its humble beginnings GCHQ now covers a site of 176 acres in Cheltenham, UK.

Commissioned by Irini Papadimitriou for the “Networked Bodies” exhibition at Watermans, London – 7th-9th November 2014.


  • Talk: Digital Arts Practice in the time of the Pandemic – July 20, 2020
    Alex May will preview new work in response to the pandemic lock down, exploring the opportunities and drawbacks of dissemination of digital arts online.
  • Four Current Exhibitions – November 8, 2014
    With various exhibitions coinciding, Alex is showing work in four shows simultaneously on November 8th, 2014. “Room 40” is a new video sculpture created for the Networked Bodies event and exhibition at Watermans in London (7th-9th November) “The Institute of Unnecessary Research Meets The Egyptian Bioart Club” is on show at  House 31 in Dubai’s Al Fahidi Cultural Quarter for ISEA …