[March 15 2017]
“Evidentiary Realism” curated by Paolo Cirio presents a group of artists working to uncover truth and question the mechanisms of power in society today. The works delve into corporations, criminal discipline and investigation, data and surveillance, deportation, and public vs private infrastructure.
Many of the works uncover invisible systems. Such as Mark Lombardi’s “Mary Carter Resorts Study”, which maps out investment connections in real estate and is perhaps Lombardi’s only work which mentions Donald Trump. Also James Bridle constructs animated interiors of immigrant detention facilities in airports in his video “Seamless Transitions”. Photography is prohibited in these spaces but Bridle’s video allows viewers to walk through the sobering steps of immigrants quietly deported from 1st world countries.
Addressing invisible realities has deep ramifications for justice. Harun Farocki’s video work “I Thought I was Seeing Convicts” shows archival footage from prison surveillance in Australia and the interplay of gang brutality with armed guards behind the institutions walls. Thomas Keenan and Eyal Weizman addresses the birth of forensic evidence through analysis of Josef Mengele’s skull in 1985 in connection to Nazi war crimes.
Other artists highlight uncomfortable truths such as Kirsten Stolle’s collaged “Monsanto Intervention” series of old advertisements using block redaction to re-phrase Monsanto’s statements into poetic allusions of the violence the company has caused. Suzanne Treister’s inkjet and watercolor series “Camouflage- NetOpsSV” augments pages of the Department of Defense NetOps Strategic Vision, leaked in the Snowden Archive, with colorful graphics. Navine G. Khan Dossos shows four panels from a larger work of 36 pieces titled “Expanding and Remaining” in which she painted the design concepts behind Dabiq magazine, a publication used to recruit ISIS members, which often borrowed from western magazine and newspaper layouts. Hans Haacke’s “The Chase Advantage” asks how public develops trust in organizations like banks, with the marketing language from an advertisement which suggests investments in good will and cultural art.
Ingrid Burrington and Amy Balkin explore physical infrastructure of data and transportation respectively. Burrington presents a lenticular print “Reconnaissance – Moncks Corner 33.064257, -80.0443453” showing three stages of construction of a google data center taken from google maps satellite images. Balkin displays shards from roadways in “A People’s Archive of Sinking and Melting – Lalla Road, Icacos, Trinidad and Tobago”. Josh Begley takes another angle on brick and mortar footprints in his composite image “Information of Note” which shows storefronts under NYPD surveillance.
Nora Al-Badri and Jan Nikolai Nelles 3D printed an exact model of Nefertiti and made the source code public. “The Other Nefertiti” challenges the notion of privatization of cultural information and knowledge, and stands as a testament to the inherent link between data and objects.
“Evidentary Realism” is a show of investigative, forensic and documentary art. By using material evidence, data structures, public documents or accounts, these artists build new understanding of our reality.
Text and Photo Elise Gallant