Critics’ Picks

Paolo Cirio, Alessandro Ludovico, Face to Facebook, 2011, digital prints, dimensions variable.

Paolo Cirio, Alessandro Ludovico, Face to Facebook, 2011, digital prints, dimensions variable.

New York

“Profiled: Surveillance of a Sharing Society”

apexart
291 Church Street
June 4–July 25, 2015

“Profiled: Surveillance of a Sharing Society” starts off with a peculiar Instagram account belonging to James Bridle, its square images displayed both on a tablet and as a streaming projection. Dronestagram, 2012–, chronicles Google Earth locations where, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, drone attacks are taking place. Far from depicting the magnitude of the carnage on the ground, the aerial perspectives result in video-game-like imagery. The havoc, however, lies in some of the viewers’ “no filter” comments evincing a woeful ignorance of the matter.

Noteworthy is Paulo Cirio and Alessandro Ludovico’s installation Face to Facebook, 2011, titled after the pair’s fake dating website built out of one million scraped Facebook profile pictures, which caused the ire of both the general public and the titular social network. The installation consists of a video showing different news channels’ reporting on the incident; a tablet where viewers can browse the website, which is no longer accessible online; three large panels filled with anonymous faces that were used for the social experiment; and a binder where a fierce though wryly written legal correspondence between Facebook’s and the artists’ attorneys unfurls. While the two parties fight over ethics and image rights, what becomes evident here is the absence of the users’ control over their own images, which are being treated like currency.

On the wall facing this piece, Julia Scher’s Mothers Under Surveillance, 1993, pays homage to the panopticon. Alternating between footage of a women’s nursing home and live footage of the gallery, the viewer intermittently goes from voyeur to subject. Amid all these thought-provoking pieces, Apexart’s very own watchful CCTVs go almost unnoticed.