This autumn, a new exhibition at BOM (Birmingham Open Media) explores the relationships between humans and machines, and the systems that control them. Three UK and international artists Pete Ashton (Birmingham, UK), Kyle McDonald (Los Angeles, USA) and Nye Thompson (London, UK) have interactive digital artworks that exploit loopholes in surveillance systems, and question the power of corporate data over our own individual privacy.
The exhibition takes its title from Pete Ashton’s new series of works, Instructions for Humans (Black Box) and Instructions for Humans (Instruction Station). Informed by machine learning programmes, the Black Box periodically issues instructions which visitors are invited to follow. The Instruction Station is an experimental live space where Pete will be resident throughout the exhibition, developing online interventions and performances.
Kyle McDonald’s online artwork Exhausting a Crowd takes filmed footage of Birmingham’s Victoria Square and invites audiences to add captions of passers’ by. The work makes an ironic commentary on issues around pervasive surveillance, raising questions around who controls the camera and how we are unintentionally perceived in public spaces.
Nye Thompson’s Backdoored.io project is an online artwork that searches the Internet for found images from unsecured surveillance cameras around the world. The work explores contemporary anxieties and online vulnerability, as well as the evolving machine gaze.
The title ‘backdoor’ is slang for a defect of a computer system or device that allows surreptitious access to data. For this exhibition, Nye has created an installation which offers a unique view of a world under surveillance, exploring ideas of voyeurism and complicity.
In an age where government response to threat is to harvest more and more personal data from its citizens, this installation asks what kinds of meanings or truths are presented through this act of dis-located watching.Exhibition curated by Louise Latter, Head of Programme at BOM.
BOM is forging a new model of radical practice at the intersection of art, technology and science with measurable social impact. By making sustained investment in a community of Fellows and developing strategic projects and partnerships, we test pioneering ideas that investigate the transformative value of the arts across education, health and society.