Alex Benedict

fine art prints • photography

 

solarParallax

Collusion

 

Edward Snowden’s revelations of indiscriminate NSA spying on American citizens has highlighted the fact that guarantees of personal privacy, either by governments or corporations, are unlikely to be reliable. We now know that the U.S. government's NSA and various corporations colluded in breaking U.S. laws governing surveillance of American citizens, and then lied about it. Electronic metadata was (and is) illegally recorded and passed  to the National Security Agency (NSA), revealing who talked to whom; the time the connection was made, how long it lasted; and the location of the participants. Registered owners of the electronic devices can be positively identified through stored records, and thus become suspects for covert investigation.

 

The well-known concept of “six degrees of separation” tells us that it's easy to form an implied connection with anyone at all in the world. We celebrate this, and have come to expect instant, 24/7 connectedness via all kinds of social media. But now, how are we to maintain respect for the boundaries we set (either by custom or law) between our private and public lives?

 

I engaged with this situation by considering how electronic media works. I simulated a small network and visualized its traffic, then juxtaposed that network structure with relevant texts: metadata associated with network traffic, texts of U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance laws, and transcripts of lies told by the officials sworn to uphold the statutes.

 

This series is an ongoing project: so far I have made prints on paper in triptychs, as well as animated video.

© copyright 2015 Alex Benedict