Looking to champion the graduates of HackYourFuture, a not-for-profit coding school for refugees, in a way that resonated with its participants, agency 72andSunny Amsterdam has hidden portraits of them in the back-ends of the homepages of major companies such as eBay and Accenture. The campaign, called Behind the Source, features seven portraits built in code that are available for anyone to see if they know where to look – by clicking “view page source”.
It’s not as sneaky as it might sound, however, as the companies are complicit – in fact, the graduates now work as web developers at the companies taking part. The campaign is celebrating their success, in a self-proclaimed “geeky” way that hopes to reframe discourse around refugees and the contribution they bring to the countries they move to, while highlighting how learning code can help to change people’s lives.
Designer and creative at 72andSunny Amsterdam Guillaume Roukhomovsky tells It’s Nice That the portraits are “a tribute to ‘easter eggs’, these artworks made of code characters that developers sometimes hide in their code (in case somebody suddenly decides to take a look).” To make the portraits, the creative team took photos of the graduates, then ran the images through an algorithm that reconstructed them using letters, numbers and punctuation marks. “This way, we could simply copy and paste them in the source code of all these websites, turning code into art,” he says.
“Using only code characters to design everything wasn’t just a creative restriction we made up,” continues Roukhomovsky. “It was also a way for us to show the HackYourFuture graduates while making sure no one would be able to recognise them, allowing us to ensure the anonymity sometimes required by their political refugee status, and the safety of their family left behind.”