Surveillance and Biopolitics

These artists turn our attention to the advancing centralisation and accumulation of power in the hands of corporations and state governments, which tap into technological progress to boost social control. This Orwellian narration in the public debate, which lays bare digital surveillance in the information society, reached its peak after Edward Snowden disclosed the secret files of the National Security Agency concerning the PRISM programme.

The fear of surveillance and reflection on the unmet promises of the digital revolution from the 90s are the most manifest in the multidisciplinary projects of the Dutch graphic studio Metahaven, which combines the practice of graphic design with political engagement. One of the postulates from the group’s manifestoes is “black transparency”, a strategy of resistance against suppressing freedom of speech. The centralisation of the Internet in the hands of corporations, which is inextricably linked with the global flow of capital, is also the object of reflection of artists such as Yuri Pattison or Daniel Keller, whose work merges elements of conceptual art with new technological solutions.

Depicting the world after Snowden, the artists confront the individual with an ethical choice, underlining our co-responsibility for the steady decline of privacy and blurring the borders between the private and the public sphere.