• 02:47 We’ve always been watching
  • 06:00 The strategy of the opposite
  • 07:27 Dots, not lines
  • 10:16 Mapping a body trought a city
  • 13:41 Data body
  • 16:19 Metadata
  • 19:29 Obsolescence
  • 20:53 Surveillance camera aesthetics
  • 24:50 Policy and adaptation
29/12/2017 29' 22''

Spending years putting together a public archive of tens of thousands of images recording details of his daily life, from bathroom breaks to bank transactions, and making it available to the FBI to help them in their surveillance of him, which they started by mistake, has been one of the high points in the career of Bangladeshi-born artist Hasan Elahi.

His projects, in the form of installations, web sites, and photographic series, led him deep into the world of extreme surveillance, before the advent of social media. A decade and a half later, his perseverance has shaped questions on the aesthetics of privacy in the face of government agencies. The accumulation of private images always brings into focus a sharper, less suspicious narrative, but it also opens up the possibility of camouflage, of sousveillance, and of what Hasan dubs the “non-autobiographical selfie”.

SON[I]A talks to Hasan Elahi about data bodies and digital immigrants, about obsolete laws and cultural velocities, about little brothers, big brothers, and the potential agency of tiny secrets against big data.

Music excerpts from "Lyriction for Flute" (1988), by Yasunao Tone and Barbara Held


Son[i]aHasan ElahiYasunao Tone Barbara Held

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