[ISEA2016] Artist Statement: Joana Moll — AZ: Move and Get Shot

Artist Statement

Net-based installation, 2011-2014, 33’07’’

“AZ: move and get shot” is a net based piece which shows the natural, animal and human flows in the landscape of the U.S. / Mexico border in the state of Arizona, through the eyes of six autonomous surveillance cameras.
These cameras are part of an online platform created by a group of landowners with properties in the U.S. border. The platform shows the images of six surveillance cameras located in the border territory. The main purpose of this community is to provide the public with raw images of immigrants crossing the border illegally through their lands. Each camera incorporates a motion sensor which triggers the capturing of images when detecting the slightest vibration of the landscape. Then, these pictures are sent to a server and displayed directly on the web page.
While the main goal of the landowners is to capture and disseminate photographs of immigrants entering the United States illegally, the camera is programmed to detect and record any kind of movement. By delegating the surveillance to a machine, the original human intention is lost, and the original purpose takes shape as a collection of images that reveal not only immigrants but all kinds of human, animal and natural activity. Therefore, the monitoring action becomes something uncontrollable and potentially meaningless.
The piece is composed of six independent films automatically made from the images captured by each camera. Every 24 hours, a Bot detects whether there are new pictures. These new images are saved to a local server and added algorithmically right after the last frame of the corresponding video. Thus, the films expand and reveal, day by day, how the animal, the human, the natural and the technological coexist on the Arizona borderland.

  • Joana Moll is a Barcelona (Spain) / Berlin (Germany) based artist and researcher. Her practice is a critical exploration of the way post-capitalist narratives affect the alphabetization of machines, humans and ecosystems. Her main research topics include communication technologies and CO2 emissions, virtual civil surveillance on the Internet and language. Moll believes that the actual configuration of technology reinforces cultural dynamics (rituals) that stress disconnectedness. In our contemporary algorithmic decision-making society, ecosystems are being increasingly considered as mere economic externalities. How can we rearticulate our relationship with the world if we are unable to see the actual impact of our actions in the concrete world? What can be the role of media art in the  reinforcement of such process? What fundamental shifts need to occur in the sphere of art in order to reveal the connections between actions and consequences, especially when those actions are mediated by technology? Moll believes it is crucial to set the environment as a main political agent within the networked society art discourse and to create mechanisms that might stimulate and re-appropriate subjectivity, an essential process in the generation of critical thought about the true nature of technology, and in the imagination of alternative techno-paradigms which may coherently respons to our environmental and human conditions.  janavirgin.com

Full Text and photo p. 197-198