Photograph of Ahmet Öğüt’s This area is under 23 hour video and audio surveillance, 2009, posted on failblog.org, 2012.

Photograph of Ahmet Öğüt’s This area is under 23 hour video and audio surveillance, 2009, posted on failblog.org, 2012.

Ahmet Öğüt

Photograph of Ahmet Öğüt’s This area is under 23 hour video and audio surveillance, 2009, posted on failblog.org, 2012.

I AM INTERESTED in finding ways of disrupting social protocols by making minor shifts in their most basic forms. For example, in one work I took the standard security signage that you might find in a parking garage, bank, etc., and altered a single character so that it anomalously read THIS AREA IS UNDER 23 HOUR VIDEO AND AUDIO SURVEILLANCE.

Although the piece is on permanent view at Laumeier Sculpture Park in Saint Louis, most visitors are thrown by its readymade format and completely miss that the sign is a work of art. Usually they think it’s a mistake, that there’s been some administrative error. Someone even photographed the work and anonymously posted it to failblog.org. By the time I saw the entry, people had already submitted a slew of comments—all kinds of ideas about how or why that sign might have come to be. This continued for a while, but eventually someone wrote in to say that in fact the text wasn’t a mistake but a work of art. All of the more interesting speculation immediately stopped. Fortunately, information networks today are undisciplining the archive by way of the nonhierarchical organizational logic its netizens are drawn to employ. I like how my work disperses when distributed this way.