This theatrical installation invites us to witness a covertly recorded conversation between American National Security Agency (NSA) recruiters and student activists, who took the NSA to task over the 2013 Edward Snowden revelations. Visitors can view a recorded re-enactment of the conversation that used the automated masks left hanging in the space to perform the exchange as a form of grotesque and querulous karaoke.By combining the stage set with a video re-enactment of the original recording, this layered experience raises questions about net neutrality, openness and transparency in a culture where we are encouraged to accept invasions of privacy for commercial and political gain as the ‘new’ normal.
Courtesy of the artist and Carroll / Fletcher. Commissioned by the Open Data Institute as part of the Data as Culture programme, which was supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. Mask automation developed by Dr Philip Basford and Dr Jon Hare, University of Southampton. This is the premiere of the work.
Automated masks; video with sound, 7.29 mins; office chairs
The New Observatory
June 2017 – October 2017 at FACT, Liverpool
Anonymised, Identifiable, Live, Shared, State
Pioneering media artists Jon Thomson (b.1969) & Alison Craighead (b.1971) make work informed by long-term, gently critical, explorations of the structures and social constructs of the Internet and the spaces of social media. They work across…