The Peeled Eye
“Openness and participation are antidotes to surveillance and control.” - Howard Rheingold
An exhibition about being watched. The Peeled Eye opened September 17th at Wave Pool with a special extension opening at FotoFocus’s ArtHub on October 5th.
In our contemporary culture, the internet, the logic of algorithmic processing, social media and surveillance are conditions of our everyday existence. The Peeled Eye investigated the idea of constant supervision and the immense amount of data and images that emerge from it. The artists in this exhibition sought to discover and understand how we are being watched and what this surveillance produces. The artists selected chose to appropriate images and content created by these outside sources, whether it be Google, social media, or surveillance cameras, and make artwork that reflects humanity in this unique place in time under the surveillance machine.
The artists in this exhibit were taking massive amounts of content and slicing small sections of it to their aesthetic and conceptual taste. The FotoFocus 2016 theme of the “Undocument” is being used in two senses in this exhibition. In one sense, the art displayed is featuring what up until now would have gone ”undocumented”, scenes and images from our daily life that exist unbeknownst to even the subjects. In another sense, the artists were utilizing this media to take images and content out of context, tailoring them to fit with their own aesthetic vision and conceptual ideology. When taken apart from GoogleMaps, when displayed as art in the gallery, carefully cropped away from their origin, the images became art, crafted as aesthetically interesting images in the artist’s eyes.
Included artists Bill Brown, Paolo Cirio, Mishka Henner, Will Knipscher, Andy Marko, and Doug Rickard at Wave Pool's Gallery. Also a special extension of this exhibition with installations by Pierre Derks, Marc Governanti, and Potter-Belmar Labs at the FotoFocus ArtHub from October 5th-9th.
Paulo Cirio takes photo documentation provided publically through google maps and removes the figures only to literally place them back on the street. His life-sized printed figures attempt to challenge our idea of what is real and how limiting it is that we take these digital images as permanent truths. Cirio is printing and installing a new set of 6 Street Ghost images that are being installed around Camp Washington. These figures are found on Google street view, printed life-size, and installed in real life at their Google Street View location. In the gallery he is providing a map of where to find these images as well as documentation of the work.
William Knipscher has been hacking into surveillance camera feeds and finding interesting, sometimes humorous, and thoughtful compositions. His work highlights the non-private nature of these surveillance cameras, and also the beauty in the mundane.
In 2005 and 2008, Bill Brown of the Surveillance Camera Players made a map of the surveillance cameras in public places in downtown Cincinnati. Brown is creating a new 2016 version of this map for this exhibition.
Doug Rickard’s series A New American Picture shows us forgotten, often bleak and disparaged places from the American landscape through appropriated Google street view photos. He finds people, communities, and homes that are economically devastated, and uses a deliberate eye to craft photographic prints from these online images of America.
Andy Marko is utilizing online databases of Hamilton County mug shots to create his work for the exhibit. There are some 500 images sequenced from the earliest arrest to the most recent arrest for those who were taken into custody on multiple occasions. Marko’s current practice confronts the illusion of viewer choice on Internet sites, a linchpin of the design in web-based presentations.
Mishka Henner’s series ‘Eighteen Pumpjacks’ explores the mark left by the oil industry on the American landscape through a series of photographs taken from imaging satellites orbiting Earth.
In the ArtHub (an inflatable dome placed outside of the Freedom Center from October 5th – 9th), Wave Pool has curated an extension of this exhibition including an installation by Netherlands artist Pierre Derks during the day (11am-7pm), an evening projection piece by Detroit-based artist team Potter-Bellmar Labs, and closing with a performance by Marc Governanti on October 9th at 11am.
The installation Re-streaming Reality #1 by Pierre Derks embodies a total of four television screens on the floor that broadcast pre-recorded footage of streams from unsecured IP-cameras. The attentively selected and edited footage reveals an eerie glimpse of the unprotected surveillance streams that are accessible over the internet. The television screens are bordered by seats resembling the ones featured in the videos. This process of mirroring gets strengthened when viewers are seated, thereby watching the footage in the same angle as recorded by the camera. Each looped video has its own discreet rhythmic sound score (of sound effects matching the footage) that connects the four units.
Potter-Belmar Labs has created new video work viewable in the evening on the outside of the ArtHub dome, rearscreenprojected from within. The work is self-generating over the duration of the exhibition, via a custom software engine designed by the artists. Though figures and elements appear and reappear and develop relationships with each other, never does the image repeat.
Marc Governanti will present a multimedia performance told through a series of video vignettes, live narrative, and sound art in the ArtHub on Sunday, October 9th at 11am. The vignettes offered through this performance aim to alter commercial media tropes embedded deeply into culture, moving from realms of complete calm to disorientation, while giving the audience an opportunity to exist in a hyperreal, sometimes absurd, sometimes frightening, multisensory cloud outside of their own individualized online experiences.
The goal is for the exhibit to prompt us to think critically about how and why we are being recorded as well as question if, in an age where online content is ubiquitous, artists need to continue to create new images. By finding ways to use what is being already produced through the “peeled eye”, these artists are acknowledging both the beauty and the disturbing nature of this new, omnipresent documentation.
The Peeled Eye is on view at Wave Pool’s gallery from September 17th – November 21st, 2016 with a special extension of the exhibit at the ArtHub from October 5th - 9th, 2016. Wave Pool is located at 2940 Colerain Avenue and is open to the public Thursday – Saturday 12-5pm.
Doug Rickard, #42.973252, Detroit, MI (2009), from A New American Picture series, 2010. Archival pigment print, 20¾ x 33½ inches. © Doug Rickard. Courtesy of Yossi Milo Gallery, New York
Paolo Cirio, Street Ghosts, 2012. Inkjet prints on coated paper, Variable. Courtesy of the artist