Geometries of Power: Pyramid Faces
11/15/14 - Live Media Performance at 'Inlight 2014', Richmond, Virginia.
A one-night live video performance projected onto a pyramid shaped sculptural screen.
Recent developments in Internet technology have revealed a wider culture of surveillance and an increasing penetration of the state into the everyday lives of citizens on a national and global level. From the Echelon system in the 1990’s to Prism and the NSA (National Security Agency), post-9/11 anxieties relating to terrorist fears have reached new heights. Stories of whistle blowers, the Wikileak scandals and cyber spying abound in the culture of info-wars.
The work consisted of a large pyramid structure made of wood and stretched canvas. Three projectors from each side of the pyramid created meanings relating to the theme of geometry, power and surveillance. Our initial installation last January was a serious approach to the issue, for Inlight2014 broadened this to a more ironic and humorous level. There were three surveillance cameras for each side of the pyramid, and people were able to step up to and have their face projected onto and into the work. The collective then played with personal and visual puns relating to a high-tech form of stockades. This is a play on the medieval public punishment device for shaming its victims. The difference being that people shamelessly parade themselves via social media.
The work was intended to be a metaphor of the porous lives and identities created via social media and the bizarre voluntary and violated nature of privacy abandonment. A condition where the dialectic of public and private has collapsed, and the boundaries between inside and outside oscillate. Social transparency and intrusion have replaced past formations of public and private spaces. We intended to create a fun and playful reminder of the social condition that has arisen from this system of self-surveillance. Via humor we ask more serious questions concerning what has been lost or taken regarding the invasion of privacy and the transparent lives of citizens via social net-working in the new media military complex?
Imagery: Jim Gladman, Kelley Mcclung, Alessandro Imperato
Sound: Alessandro Imperato
Pyramid: Jennifer Gladhill, Kelley Mcclung