Artists pushing boundaries of form and content
ASC Projects is proud to present Unmasking the Network, a group exhibition guest curated by Ben Valentine and featuring works by James Bridle, Nick Briz, Silvio Lorusso, Simone Niquille, and Clement Valla. The show opens Friday, April 18th, with a reception with the curator at 7pm, and continues through May 18th.
Unmasking the Network seeks to investigate and expose our hyper-connected world, pushing our understanding and imagination of the communication, power, data structures, and institutions affecting us all. These networks are incredibly powerful, yet intensely resistant to description, facilitating misunderstandings and creating a poor grasp of what the systems do and their relation to our lives. The artists presented in the exhibition explore these themes through subversion of media—chalk outlines of online-mapped drone shadows, satellite images of data storage centers, t-shirts designed to fool face-recognition software—fully aware of the tenuous relationship between their practice and their selected medium.
“Near-ubiquitous communication and big data connect and affect us all. While the internet can be accessed through our smartphones and image recognition software detects our physical identities, data is collected and mined. This data becomes shared through social networks and available to large and secretive government agencies. This information architecture remains hidden to the majority of global citizens, yet profoundly affects our lives. New systems of power are emerging and these means of surveillance dominate global businesses and governance today.
The new media work in Unmasking the Network appears both in and outside of the gallery walls. Each work examines the tools and systems of the networked realities. This disconnect between the near-unintelligible yet ubiquitous software and hardware builds an ever worse understanding of our built environment. Debates about economics, surveillance, drones, and more are too often characterized by misunderstandings, lies, and fear. Given the speed and thoroughness at which the world is becoming more connected, this work nurtures a much-needed dialogue, one which demands deep investigation, new language, and a keen imagination. This show is an attempt at articulating and imagining for the audience a few of those amorphous but physical realities of networked life today.” — Ben Valentine
The show is accompanied by texts by James Bridle, Clement Valla, Simone Niquille, and Silvio Lorusso — all of which will be available on the gallery’s website. James Bridle’s “Drone Shadows” can be found in several locations around the Bay Area, and are documented on Instagram and Twitter using the tag, #DroneShadows. Bridle’s, Drone Shadow Handbook, is available for purchase or download online, should you wish to create your own Drone Shadow.
Guest Curator Ben Valentine is a strategist and writer for The Civic Beat as well as a culture creator/critic/curator deeply excited by the intersection of creativity, new media, and journalism. After living in New York City for two years where he worked as a writer and artist assistant, Ben moved to the Bay Area seeking a compromise between his passion for social work and art. Ben has curated for the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art; co-curated the Tumblr Art Symposium; written for Hyperallergic, Salon, and Idiom Mag; and was a curatorial intern with Creative Time.
/// JAMES BRIDLE
James Bridle, Drone Shadow, 2014, installation around Bay Area, and Drone Shadow Handbook on display. Please read Bridle’s texts on drones, Under the Shadow of the Drone, and Australia: Drone Shadows, Diagrams, and Political Systems, or watch Bridle in these videos, The Lift Conference, and Unseen War.
In 2012 James Bridle and a friend were discussing how invisible drones are in the west. While their presence is viscerally real in places like Waziristan, they remain politically invisible here because their operations never result in the deaths of western troops. They are obscured in our media because, unlike troops on the ground, drones are never accompanied by reporters; reports on drone strikes are almost entirely from those who ordered them. Perhaps most obviously, drones can operate at such an altitude as to make them completely invisible, even to those they kill or surveil. Concerned about the lack of critical discussion around the efficacy and ethics of drone use, Bridle wanted to make these invisible weapons more tactile, give them a physical presence where it was possible to confront and look at them. Bridle made a 1:1 representation of a MQ-1 Predator drone outside of his studio, and has been installing them around the world ever since. Working with Bridle’s open-source instructions, Ben Valentine installed a drone on Treat, a few yards from the gallery, and one Reaper Drone Shadow near the Oakland Police Department, which in 2012 tried to obtain permission to use drones for their work. Furthermore, the Oakland Drone Shadow is near the Port of Oakland, which is starting the process of installing a Domain Awareness Center, linking up all of the city’s surveillance cameras, license plate readers, gun-shot detectors, and more into one system, and has privacy experts worried. The curator will continue to try and install Drone Shadows around the Bay Area, and near A Simple Collective and will upload photographs onto Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #DroneShadows. James Bridle is a writer, artist, publisher and technologist based in London, UK. His work covers the intersection of literature, culture and the network. He writes for a wide range of media, online and in print, and lectures worldwide. @jamesbridle
/// NICK BRIZ
Nick Briz, Apple Computers, 2013, projection.
Apple Computers is an open letter to Apple + experimental prosumer manifesto on the issues of planned obsolescence, upgrade culture, technological self-reliance, control and copying. A [re]mix/make of Phil Morton’s 1976 video tape ‘General Motors’, in which contemporary Chicago [dirty] new media artists explain their love && hate relationship with the ‘default art computer’.
“I’m a new-media artist, educator && organizer based in Chicago IL + am an active participant in digital culture and experimental new-media, specifically through my work/research/writing on glitch art, remix-culture && digital literacy + I regularly organize events related to these theories/practices + I teach courses on these theories/practices at the Marwen Foundation && the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. My work has been shown internationally at festivals and institutions, including the FILE Media Arts Festival (Rio de Janeiro, BR); the Images Festival (Toronto, CA); the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; the Museum of Moving Image (NYC); Furtherfield Gallery (London, UK); Museo De Arte Contemporaneo de Caracas (Venezuela); LEAP Berlin; ++ I’ve been featured in on/off-line publications including Rhizome.org; Furtherfield.org; the Creators Project; Creativity Online; PSFK; Neural Magazine; ++ I work collaboratively/commercially as Branger_Briz (Miami, FL) + am a co-founder/co-organizer of the GLI.TC/H international conference/festival/gathering + my work is distributed through Video Out Distribution (Vancouver, CA) as well as openly and freely on the web.” @NBriz
/// SILVIO LORUSSO
Silvio Lorusso, Postcard from a Data Center, 2014, gallery-specific display, tablet.
A small tablet shows an aerial image of one of the data centers in which the gallery’s website is hosted (Chicago, Illinois). Two copies of the Data Centers Grand Tour Log, a booklet documenting a project for which Silvio Lorusso purchased domain names and hosting in several countries across the globe, are available for view at the gallery. For each domain, a single web page was hosted showing a satellite view of the geographical site in which that particular domainʼs data was stored. By linking the hybrid and diverse spaces of the gallery, the piece acts as a direct and multifaceted connection between the physicality of data and its online representation. Silvio Lorusso is an Italian artist and designer. His ongoing PhD research in Design Sciences at Iuav University of Venice is focused on the intersections between publishing and digital technology from the perspective of art and design. He regularly collaborates with the Institute of Network Cultures in Amsterdam. After he received his MA in Visual and Multimedia Communications in 2011, he spent a period of study at the Networked Media course of the Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam. He took part in exhibitions, festival and events such as Transmediale (Berlin, Germany), Unlike Us (Amsterdam, Netherlands), Fahrenheit39 (Ravenna, Italy). Some of his works are included in the Rhizome ArtBase Selection. He has written for blogs and magazines such as Progetto Grafico and Doppiozero. Since 2013, he manages the Post-Digital Publishing Archive (p-dpa.net). @silvi0L0russo
/// SIMONE NIQUILLE
Simone Niquille, REALFACE Glamouflage, 2013, custom printed t-shirts. Read more about the work at FaceValue.
REALFACE Glamouflage is a collection of Tshirts offering facial recognition dazzle. Dazzle is a form of camouflage developed during WW1. It’s goal is not to conceal but to confuse. The pattern of the REALFACE Glamouflage shirts consist of celebrity impersonators, Britney Spears, Barack Obama & Michael Jackson. By using impersonators the wearer confuses facial recognition not only by wearing more faces than his own, but also by misleading celebrity recognition. REALFACE Glamouflage offers privacy the way it should be, as a mundane commodity in the form of a Tshirt.
Simone C. Niquille is a graphic designer and researcher. Her practice investigates networked optics, private spaces and facial economies. She recently exhibited at TodaysArt Festival, The Hague (2013) and de Appel Arts Center, Amsterdam (2012). She has been published in Wired, DisMagazine and The Atlantic among others. She has worked with research studio Metahaven on their recent exhibition Black Transparency and currently is part of design research collaborative Space Caviar in Genoa, Italy. She has received a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design and a Masters in Visual Strategies from the Sandberg Institute Amsterdam. @s__c__n
/// CLEMENT VALLA
Clement Valla, Universal Texture, 2014, digital print. With an accompanying text, Universal Texture, originally published on Rhizome.
I collect Google Earth images. I discovered strange moments where the illusion of a seamless representation of the Earth’s surface seems to break down. At first, I thought they were glitches, or errors in the algorithm, but looking closer I realized the situation was actually more interesting — these images are not glitches. They are the absolute logical result of the system. They are an edge condition—an anomaly within the system, a nonstandard, an outlier, even, but not an error. These jarring moments expose how Google Earth works, focusing our attention on the software. They reveal a new model of representation: not through indexical photographs but through automated data collection from a myriad of different sources constantly updated and endlessly combined to create a seamless illusion; Google Earth is a database disguised as a photographic representation. These uncanny images focus our attention on that process itself, and the network of algorithms, computers, storage systems, automated cameras, maps, pilots, engineers, photographers, surveyors and map-makers that generate them.
Clement Valla is Brooklyn based artist. His recent solo show ‘Iconoclashes’ was exhibited at Mulherin + Pollard Projects in New York, and his work was included in the “Paddles On!” auction at Phillips, organized by Lindsay Howard. His work has also been exhibited at The Indianapoilis Museum of Contemporary Art, Indianapolis; Museum of the Moving Image, New York; Thommassen Galleri, Gothenburg; Bitforms Gallery, New York; DAAP Galleries, University of Cincinatti; 319 Scholes, New York; and the Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum, Milwaukee. His work has been cited in The Guardian, Wall Street Journal, TIME Magazine, El Pais, Huffington Post, Rhizome, Domus, Wired, The Brooklyn Rail, Liberation, and on BBC television. Valla received a BA in Architecture from Columbia University and an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in Digital+Media. He is currently an associate professor of Graphic Design at RISD. @clementvalla
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