Saturday, September 13, 2008

Under Surveillance

September 17 - October 8, 2008.
Reception: Thursday, September 18 from 6 to 9 pm.

Curated by Ellyn Weiss and Sondra N. Arkin
View Web site

This group show features works twelve local artists who explore our diminishing zone of personal privacy and reflect on all of the ways we are watched, listened to, recorded, categorized and observed.

Scott G. Brooks, Groover Cleveland, Richard Dana, Anna U. Davis, Aziza Claudia Gibson-Hunter, Rosemary Luckett, Elizabeth Morisette, Ann Stoddard, Tim Tate, Ruth Trevarrow, and the curators themselves.

The artists’ statement explains the motivation behind the show:

For quite some time, we have observed with concern, anger and even fear the increasingly diminishing zone of personal privacy available to any of us, the freedom to speak, write, believe, read, travel, even think in complete privacy.

We have quickly become accustomed to random pat-down searches and shoe removals at the airport; these seem benign by now, as does as the inability to enter virtually any office building without producing identification and, in many cases, going through a metal-detector.

In the past few years we have learned through the media, not the government, about much more sinister, invasive and secret surveillance such as warrantless wiretapping of conversations, surveillance of public library usage and monitoring internet and telephone traffic from homes and workplaces. While the initial outcry was loud when these intrusions into our privacy were first disclosed, they are for the most part continuing and it seems quite possible that we are on the verge of becoming accustomed
to and tacitly accepting of these as well. We have already accepted the incredible proliferation of cameras throughout our cities that record our physical presence as it moves through space throughout the day.

Nor is surveillance by any means limited to the government. The internet has facilitated an enormous amount of data collection about our purchases, our viewing habits, our homes, our friends and business connections, the groups we belong to and support.

Short of disconnecting from the modern world completely, there is not much we can do to find a truly inviolate private space.

The intention of the “Under Surveillance” is to encourage viewers to reflect on the many ways in which we are watched, listened to, observed, monitored, photographed, categorized and filed away for future reference – and to think about the appropriate action.

Nevin Kelly Gallery
1517 U Street, NW
Washington, DC

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