THIS IS NOT THE NUCLEAR AGE. THIS IS NOT THE INFORMATION AGE. THIS IS THE ESP-ION-AGE.
1984 came and went, and Big Brother did not materialize. Privacy and surveillance are actually being decentralized and democratized, and we are all watching each other, with varying degrees of sophistication, purpose and economic gain.
Although we are far from it, the 'information society' in its ideal state, wants to be an open society. Information, like water, flows along paths of least resistance. In an open, truthful society, privacy may be less needed or valued than in society tending towards closure and control.
The information environment is a dynamic part of our all-encompassing (physical and social) eco-system. That eco-system is in a constant state of fragile balance and tension amid the forces of high and low entropy. The valuation of natural resources and their processing, from works of art to waste, forms the basis of our economic systems. As information flows through human societies, and is processed by minds (and machines), it assumes increasing low-entropy (order) value at one end of the economic spectrum, and loses value as high-entropy (disorder) waste at the other. In the information society, greatest value resources or qualities include wisdom, truth and creativity; low value, waste includes ignorance, confusion and deception. We live and derive meaning on the qualitative and quantitative difference between these states.
My work results from an ongoing creative exploration and investigation of the so-called 'Information Revolution'. There are and have been, in fact, many historic 'information revolutions'. Today, we are products of the film, television and computer revolutions, which have changed the world more significantly than is yet realize. Faster, smaller and cheaper computing systems are now rapidly and increasingly personalizing tele-media technologies. A primary goal of our techno-capitalist system is to assure that everyone on Earth (and beyond) is tele-media assisted. For a minimal start-up investment and low monthly access charges, we are assured of becoming smarter, more economically successful, and ecologically sustainable. As this version of the 'information society' proliferates, it is important to note that peak level humane achievement, without technical aid, may actually achieve highest economic value.
Privacy and personal security will become increasingly rare, valued and expensive in this environment.
WHERE IS THE ART IN SURVEILLANCE? IT IS LURKING IN THE SHADOWS. IT IS HIDDEN IN THE GREY AREAS. IT IS ECHOED BY AN UNHEARD WHISPER. IT IS ILLUMINATED BY INTENT.
The photographs on this site were shot in dark places between 1985 and today. They were created with the aid of sophisticated photonic image intensifying technology, initially developed and used by the military, law enforcement and other (intelligence) agencies. Penetrating darkness, 'nightscopes' are primarily being deployed for applications such as watching illegal aliens and contraband smugglers crossing borders at night; gaining battlefield advantage by conducting air, land and sea warfare 'virtually', under strategic cover of night; covertly observing secret meetings behind the seemingly secure obscurity of tinted-glass window buildings or limousines; or probing the deepest, darkest depths of the universe. They are the latest tool of the paparazzi, and are now available to every voyeur and not-so-private investigator, from former Soviet military surplus outlets and Spy Shops, to Sharper Image web mail order catalogues.
All of the photographs on this site were captured under cover of darkness, without the knowledge or consent of the subjects. They are intrusions into peoples' privacy. These visual encapsulations of private, personal moments, are provocative in their quiet simplicity and sometimes seeming banality. As illicit portraits they are deeply personal. The subjects are often vulnerable. These images quietly push the boundaries of 'society as spectacle', revealing often secret and introspective moments. Under the safe, secure cover of darkness, people's masks are off; faces are luminous with subtly revealed expression and feeling. These illicit images evoke a rarely seen sense of truth and beauty, while provoking our deepest concerns and questioning.
THE ARTIST IS A SPY; AN AGENT OF ENTROPY, COVERTLY INTRUDING UPON SECRET WORLDS; ILLICITLY STEALING THE PRIVATE MOMENT. A TECHNO DEVIATE, CULTURAL PROVOCATEUR; THE TRICKSTER AT LARGE IN THE INFORMATION SOCIETY.
Video still frame of "IR" performance finale.