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Documentation of Babel (shadows in the rear-view mirror), 2015
Video courtesy of Mark Stoffel

Babel (shadows in the rear-view mirror)

Since the summer of 2013, the main stream news has been filled with a constant flow of information leaked by the whistleblower Edward Snowdon regarding the complete surveillance system created by the National Security Agency with the infrastructure and help of companies such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Apple. Together the government and corporations have created an automated system of looking, sharing, and hiding. Our personal information is shared by automated machines, and looked at by processes controlled by hidden algorithms. The aesthetics within these systems now control almost every aspect of society

Description of the Live Art Event:
The Department of Homeland Security and images reflected back from the Internet on Yahoo! Image Search are combined with computer voices and audience members reading manipulated text simultaneously in a composite of ever dense sound and image, resulting in a gradual loss of legibility.

This performance consists of a laptop with a printer and a projector. The computer code runs and scrapes text from the Department of Homeland Security's website. The common English words are removed, and the remaining text is passed to Yahoo! Image Search. The images and text appear with various degrees of opacity, overlapping and flickering in an ever changing composite of images. The sound of a metronome is heard at 60 bpm. The audience watches as the images continue to build, and at various intervals a computer voice speaks the words as the printer prints a long paper trail of text in a vertical column. The paper is passed from person to person, each audience member then reads the text. This continues to build slowly at first, to an ever complex and dense cacophony of spoken word, computer voice, flickering images, and the sounds of an inkjet printer.


Babel (shadows in the rear-view mirror)

Animated sequence of auto-generated art from the live art performance, 2015