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Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Foundation verified

Turin, Piedmont, Italy open Visit museumarrow_right_alt

closed Paolo Cirio. Exposed

The show

As part of the exhibition project "#FacceEmozioni. 1500 - 2020 from physiognomy to emoji", created in collaboration with the Turin Cinema Museum , Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo presents "Exposed", the solo exhibition by Paolo Cirio (Turin, 1979. Lives in New York). Cirio's artistic work investigates the power structures that characterize our era, in which the dynamics of information flows influence politics and economics as well as the lives of individuals. Cirio's research field is the media, the network, social networks; his method is the manipulation of information, the hacking of data, aimed at revealing the more or less hidden, but often ignored mechanisms, through which each of us is perpetually controlled, studied, cataloged.
The exhibition includes three important cycles of works dedicated to the theme of the face , a symbolic space in which the conflictual dynamic between private and public, individual and general, freedom and surveillance is played out. Technological innovation always offers new tools for the analysis and identification of individuals, through facial recognition software and the growing capabilities of machines to read and understand images. Network users are subject to constant data stealing, but they are also active agents in fueling the hunger for images of these systems, producing a vicious cycle between exhibitionism and submission.
This dynamic is one of the critical objectives of "Face to Facebook" (2011), the artist's seminal work, which started out as a hacker intervention and transformed into a global media performance. Cirio (in collaboration with Alessandro Ludovico) hacked Facebook and appropriated a million profiles. He then reposted 250,000 of these profiles on a dating site he created, Lovely-Faces.com. Here a software proposed couplings on the basis of personality traits derived from the analysis of faces.
The intervention, which lasted 5 days, had enormous resonance, producing over a thousand mentions in the international media, eleven complaints, five death threats and numerous letters from Facebook lawyers. As is typical in Cirio's work, the artistic, media and legal components are inseparable, they influence each other.
The "Obscurity" project (2016) focuses on the connection between the aesthetics of the mugshot, the reputation of individuals and the control of information. The subject of the artist's intervention are the numerous sites that publish mugshots of people arrested in the United States. Sites like mugshots.com steal photos and personal data published (but not indexed) by various local police departments, and then make them easily accessible via major search engines. These sites profit from the sensitive data of individuals, who are often subjected to blackmail and extortion in order to remove their photos. Cirio has obfuscated the data of over 15 million people on these sites. After cloning the sites, he blurred the faces in the mugshots and shuffled the data, making his clones more accessible from Google than those from the original sites, so that searches led to his blacked out profiles.
Also in this case the intervention produced legal consequences; after all, the artist himself has legal purposes, to modify the legislation on the accessibility of these data online, also promoting the policy of the right to removal and oblivion in the States.
Tactical target of the latest project on show, "Overexposed" (2015), are some of the people responsible for the current mass surveillance system, active globally and directed by the United States. Key figures of agencies such as the CIA, the NSA, the FBI, mentioned in Edward Snowden's revelations, themselves become the object of an indiscreet gaze, that of social networks, the public network, where everything is always in circulation, even the private images of those who observe others for work. With a technique he himself devised, the HD stencil, Cirio created the portraits of these characters, using images found online, and scattered the posters thus created on the walls of big cities, creating a symbolic connection between the urban public space and the media center of the internet. Reproduced in the museum space, in the format of a painting, these faces condense in themselves the contradictions of our time, in which individuals are conniving victims of a system that oppresses them, and images are the vectors of a continuous negotiation between suffocating spaces. control and yet still free expression.

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Via Modane, 16
10141 Turin

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