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2019 Digital Art Creation Competition Program: Luo He-Lin-If This Is a Global Surveillance Center
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Recent Exhibitions
2019 Digital Art Creation Competition Program: Luo He-Lin-If This Is a Global Surveillance Center Appreciation
Exhibition Banner - 2019 Digital Art Creation Competition Program: Luo He-Lin-If This Is a Global Surveillance Center
Exhibition Dates: 2019/07/27 ~ 2019/09/22
Place: 108 Gallery
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  Date: 2019 / 07 / 27 – 2019 / 09 / 22
Venue: Gallery, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts
Opening: 2019 / 07 / 27 (Sun.) 14:30 at Gallery 108
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Artist Statement
Under the current state of artificial intelligence and data computation, people have developed a symbiotic existence with the cloud, living in a cyberspace composed of countless communities, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.  At all times and places, they can connect to virtual space freely and roam the cloud through mobile network, enjoying the benefits from the globalization of information and rapidness. However, the Internet is like a double-edged blade, which can also turn users into victims of malicious intention and invasions of privacy. This type of maliciousness echoes the plot of the novel, Neuromancer.   In Neuromancer, those who  connect to the cloud are also monitored by the cloud. This kind of monitoring corresponds to the notion of dystopia from a “Global Surveillance Center,” which marks a start of the future in which we are all controlled.


In the online world, people who are not familiar with digital technology might easily transfer their power of information to others due to technological asymmetry. Those who control this information space will gain dominance over physical space, for instance "Skynet," or "Spyware" that legally collects users’ data on the basis of EULA (End-User License Agreements). Whether through national or legally-compliant monitoring method, it is now legal to monitor everyone everywhere. In a borderless digital space, there is no international laws applicable to protect those who are exposed on the internet, hence they might be exploited forever.  The most obvious example is the arrival of the Internet of Things era in recent years. Smart home appliances and home security all have the function of an "electronic eye."   The IPCam enters our lives just like the accessories of smart home appliances. Although we can enjoy the convenience by connecting to this electronic eye at any time, we are also maliciously monitored.  Even though legally control the information space,  the website, https://www.insecam.org/,  seems to take those who are lack technological knowledge of electronic products as an advantage, which makes its website indexes and the IPcam that links to "default password” be displayed publicly online. The password-based network surveillance camera enables Internet surveillance cameras (IPCAM) in the "default setting" of different countries to be publicly placed on the Internet, which wonders in a gray area between legal and illegal, and exploits the information rights from those who have less technical knowledge. Therefore, this creative project, "If This Is a Global Surveillance Center," consists of a three-stage plan, putting up resistance to this website: "Exploration," "Infiltration," and "Public Exposure."


In the first stage of "Exploration," a reverse lookup reveals the code and IP location of the open surveillance camera and insecam website, enabling the source code to be collected. In the second stage of "Infiltration," the work will use the procedural index of the website to monitor the physical position of cameras publicly listed in the Taiwan region for GPS positioning. By looking for the public surveillance camera, an intervention creates a loop between shooting and being viewed, intervening through the QR code between the insecam website and the surveillance camera. As for the third stage, "Public Exposure," the artist uses the network surveillance camera he purchased by not modifying the default password, so that the insecam website can arbitrarily index the "factory setting" of the electronic product. Then,  the photographed image is linked to a computer screen comprised of John Perry Barlow's A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, reversely invading the insecam website.


The reality of the Internet is like the "Panopticon" mentioned by Jeremy Bentham in which we are easily monitored by a "center," however the work, If This Is a Global Surveillance Center, consisting of a three-stage art project, enables legal control of the information space to be cut off by reverse steps, achieving an effective "escape" under the malicious monitoring  of the Internet, and sparking a reexamination of the relations between websites and entities, seeing and being seen, as well as physical and virtual.

 
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