We’re premiering our new artwork, Recruitment Gone Wrong as part of the group exhibition The New Observatory launching at FACT, Liverpool on 22nd June 2017. The exhibition will run until 1st October and also includes work by Evan Roth, Julie Freeman, Wafaa Bilal, Natasha Caruana, Phil Coy and others. For a full rundown go to:
Documentation online here:
Recruitment Gone Wrong was researched during an artist residency at The Open Data Institute (ODI) in 2016 and has been made with generous support from Arts Council England and curator Hannah Redler Hawes. If you’re in the Liverpool area on 22nd June come along and see the insallation in action. Here’s a bit more about the work:
In July 2013, a National Security Agency (NSA) recruitment drive held in Wisconsin University was derailed by students, who took the two recruiters to task over lies told by the agency as revealed by the whistleblower Edward Snowden’s data leak in 2013. A few days later, an audio recording of this exchange was released by The Guardian newspaper.
Recruitment Gone Wrong reperforms this exchange by animating each of its four main characters through the robotic automation of four ventriloquists’ half-masks. Unlike conventional ventriloquists’ dummies, half-masks can be worn by an individual, transforming a person into a comical ‘living’ dummy, and so although each mask will be moving according to its assigned character even when left suspended and unworn in the gallery space, a visitor or group of visitors can also choose to wear any of them at prescribed times and channel the words of the students and/or recruiters through their own (cyborg) bodies.
We think of Recruitment gone wrong as an automated mechanical reenactment and a kind of karaoke, re-breathing life into a covert audio recording that touches on issues of privacy, surveillance and our human rights to freedom of information in our contemporary world.