encoding_experience/ is the first of a series of exhibitions inspired by the ways in which artists are embracing critical, hands on interventive strategies towards the understanding of, and experimentation with media. The artists in the show open up issues of privacy, piracy and control, paradigms that are deeply embedded into technology and the way technology is designed. Most of the artists favour a collaborative, socio-centric approach to their work. They have an agenda about thinking through questions such as; Where does the technology come from? What is the real use of a computer? What are the social issues around regular access to domestic machines i.e. game consoles, home stereos and digital cameras. How do we use and question systems that tirelessly reproduce and augment environments, image and sound?
Actively engaging with conceptual concerns, DaDa-esque notions of performance, hacking and intellectual property; encoding_experience presents an insight into how electronic media and craft knowledge operates in current art practice, not only in terms of its functionality, but also in regards to artists who have a critical approach towards the politics, aesthetics and ecconomies coded into these systems.
This exhibition features four artworks that focus on aspects of surveillance and tracking of the private and public lives of humans in the world of today and the projects were brought together to hopefully expand our consciousness concerning the increasing lack of privacy in our lives today. With the remarkable advances that technology has gone through in the past several years, the lives of people in the world today are more public and available than ever before in history. In this world of Wireless internet, cell phones, digital cameras, credit cards, and surveillance cameras, we are being observed and tracked mare than ever before. It is hard to imagine how often someone is “tracked” everyday of their life and most people don’t think about it, but just like the three artists shown in this exhibition, I hope to open some eyes and get people thinking about the privacy issues of today. So, imagine if you wanted to disappear, hide, or vanish in today’s society. You would need to eliminate ways for anyone to track or watch you, but that is completely impossible it the world of today. That would mean no credit card use, the emails, no cell phone calls, and no internet, but even then, your information and records would still available online and there would still be cameras in every store, school, and on every corner. Staying private is impossible with just simple tasks in today’s life and that’s without even getting the FBI or CIA involved. Technology has made it impossible to “hide” from the world. Just think, Google earth is available to anyone in the world and it is just the tip of the capabilities when it comes to satellite and cameras so imagine what is considered “private” to the general public but is available to governments for surveillance. There are devices being used that the general public won’t know about for another ten years and advances in technology being made everyday. We all might as well live in glass houses, because there really is no private life available anymore.
Martin John Callanan’s artwork shows that it is impossible for the artist to “hide”. His location is constantly being recorded and made available on his site. This piece helps to show the point that we can easily be tracked in today’s world.