Tagged: secrecy

When “state secrets” become exhibited…

“Unknown site, Noordwijk aan Zee, South Holland, 2011,” Via Open Society Foundation

@mishkahenner’s Dutch Landscapes series, where the artist appropriates censored Google Earth images of significant political, economic, and military locations, which Dutch authorities have concealed with a stylized array of multi-colored polygons. On view starting November 4, as part of the Moving Walls 22 / Watching You, Watching Me exhibition at @opensocietyfoundations in New York.


Would love to see this show in NYC — Brings up many questions about what “work” exhibitions and exhibited images do. Is visibility of, and the exposed aesthetic created by, state secrecy (the Dutch variety, in this example) an impediment or a questioning to state power? What does the registry and archival collection of secrecy’s trace produce, or is it a kind of titillation? What subjects are inscribed in this kind of work?

Another one (via @opensocietyfoundations instagram account)

Tomas van Houtryve’s Blue Sky Days series. Using a camera attached to a drone that he purchased, Van Houtryve photographed locations and gatherings in the United States that reference American drone use—both domestically and abroad—to reflect on privacy, surveillance, and contemporary warfare.

Lately have also been thinking about the unseen dimensions of these kinds of images — what are the networks and infrastructures that create the environment for these images, and how are those secured? The space of the gallery and the space of the satellite spill into each other…?



November 21st: on Surveillance and Space, at the Oakland Museum


I’ll give a very informal talk —though on a deadly serious subject matter— at the Oakland Museum of California. This talk is based on previous research events with Demilit (see Archipelago podcast and Macro City tour + review). The plan is to chat about the telegraph lines and their continuing structuring force in the contemporary city by analyzing a centrally located telecom hotel. I’ll be exploring the centralizing forces in the urban realm and the everyday ways in which historic legacies interact with surveillance. [image above is an untitled work from the Rossman Collection, via the OMCA].

Details // Pop-up Talk: Javier Arbona on the Architecture of Surveillance | Friday, November 21, 2014, 7–7:30 pm | This in-Gallery pop-up talk takes place during Friday Nights @ OMCA, featuring Off the Grid food trucks, live music, and more. | Included with Museum admission. During Friday Nights @ OMCA, from 5 to 9 pm, admission is half-price for adults, free for ages 18 and under. Admission for OMCA Members is always free. More info at OMCA.

Lots of THANK YOU’s to: Demilit’s Bryan Finoki and Nick Sowers (my collaborators), as well as Martha Bridegam and John Elrick for consultations on this project; thanks equally to Suzanne Fischer at OMCA, and also to Léopold Lambert and Xiaowei Wang for sparking events that created space for this investigation to happen. The Oakland Security Cloud continues as a longer-term performance and investigation, and will also be presented at the AAG 2015 in Chicago as part of a panel I’m co-organizing with Lindsey Dillon called Bases, Bunkers, and Ports.

More info at OMCA.