Selections for Privacy, Surveillance and Prison Reform Announced

Throughout the month of September, as part of our series on Privacy, Surveillance and Prison Reform, we invited artists to submit work that questions government authority and power over our privacy, both in and out of the prison system.

The top eight selections, each of whom will receive $500, have now been chosen. We are pleased to announce those selections below!

Familiar by taietzelticalos

Artist Statement: “Familiar” points explicitly to the 2015 massive hack of prisoner phone calls, a story covered by The Intercept. The leak exposed serious violations of attorney-client privilege and also raised questions regarding privacy rights of incarcerated persons. I focused on this particular incident in my hive but, if we take a step back, the whole picture reveals the same. We are living in an era of global mass surveillance in which, paradoxically, extimacy reached its highest level. It feels like all our actions are transformed in stored and filtered data that ultimately will turn against us.

Taietzel Ticalos is based in Romania, Bucharest.

V2FzaGluZ3Rvbg by round

Artist Statement: Over 100 security camera feeds from all over the nation’s capital reveal nothing about the surveillance state – except its banality.

Maxim Leyzerovich is based in Washington, DC.

BINARY CODE by iamhere

Artist Statement: Binary Code, is a performance based project that seeks to critique the ways that we engage in discourse surrounding the issues of surveillance and prison reform. With the vast amount of information provided by the internet; access to the narratives of others, and the documentation of traumas inflicted upon black and brown bodies, are quantified, collected, and encrypted, while the lived experiences of people are extracted and glossed over. With this project I wanted to bring remembrance to those who are living, and those who have passed through mourning, self reflection, and a challenge to express our support that goes beyond conversation.

Binary Code, aka Redeem, lives in Florida.

Wen yr surveillance drone discovers the art of dance by sabato

Artist Statement: The piece “wen yr surveillance drone discovers the art of dance” is part of a series created entirely out of FBI drone surveillance footage captured during the protests in Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray. It was inspired by Harun Farocki’s work with “operational images,” which explored the way computerized systems, like weapon and surveillance systems, see and understand visual information. The idea behind the piece is to find and crystallize fleeting moments of inoperancy captured on the drone’s surveillance feed. These moments are comprised of glitches, maneuvers, and contingencies, such as the instance when the drone captures an impromptu skating performance, creating an image that upends the official narrative of criminal protesters in a “war zone.” The panoptic gaze of a surveillance drone is recast as a that of a spectator witnessing a performance piece.

Sabato Visconti is a Brazilian artist living in Western Massachusetts.

Vulnerability and Closeness: Preliminary Findings on Privacy, Power, and Surveillance by independentvariable

Artist Statement: Vulnerability and Closeness: Preliminary Findings on Privacy, Power, and Surveillance is part of a larger ongoing project in which Livio & Merz investigate the implications of making both their emotional and data selves vulnerable, while simultaneously testing new, interdisciplinary modes of conducting research. In this iteration of the project, they have archived their intimate live-streamed hangouts, left digital care packages, and presented the entirety of their text-based communications, examining the dissonance between our vulnerability to corporate and governmental entities and the barriers to vulnerability towards ourselves, each other, and the public.

independent variable, aka Maya Livio & JP Merz, live in Boulder, CO and Minneapolis, MN, respectively.

Mexico is disappearing, A polyptych by brokenenglish

Artist Statement: With “Mexico is Dissapearing” we look to the distopia of law and order that is Mexico. We are in a war between law and criminals where in reality we cannot tell apart who is the law and who is the criminals.

Broken English is a collective post-editorial project based at Serapio Rendón in México City. The editors are the TextJockeys duo: Pierre Herrera and David Alejandro Martínez, and Canek Zapata. They publish new Latin American literature and try to push the semantic field of language with image and audio and multimedia contents.


Artist Statement: Our online interactions, what we share, how we react becomes data that can be interpreted, stored and accessed by third party apps thus the concept of privacy is slowly lost as you are an active user online.

boivoid, aka Tristan, is based in Bucharest, Romania.

Spiritus Sancti I by catbluemke

Artist Statement: Spiritus Sancti compares the vulnerable nature of identities in non-Euclidean space; comparing the Medieval concepts of heaven and soul in Christian doctrine to the global virtual space of today. In both cases, self surveillance techniques are enlisted by those in power to prohibit the uprising of those oppressed.

Cat Bluemke also works collectively under the name “Tough Guy Mountain” and lives between Toronto and Chicago.