Hasan Elahi


Wednesday, Sep 24th

Hasan Elahi
Surveillance, Data, and Learning to Love Big Brother
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Doors open at 6:30pm, Lecture begins at 7:00pm
Mary Harris Auditorium


The Lecture
Hasan Elahi’s lecture will discuss his ongoing creative explorations into the consequences of living under constant surveillance. In 2002, the FBI suspected the artist of being a national security risk—this erroneous supposition of his character led to intensive investigations and months of interrogation. Through this harrowing experience, Elahi conceived of an extensive online database, primarily made up of camera phone images called “Tracking Transience,” which publicly displays a thorough, yet intentionally selective, depiction of almost every aspect of his life. Twelve years later, the voluntary and involuntary contribution to a massive public database of personally identifying information has become a norm of contemporary life. In an overview of Elahi’s work, the artist will explore the creative choices he made to both subvert and engage big data.

About the Lecturer
Hasan Elahi is an artist based in Baltimore and is an Associate Professor in the Department of Art at the University of Maryland. His work examines issues of surveillance, transport, border, and frontiers through a variety of media and has been exhibited at SITE Santa Fe, the Sundance Film Festival, The Hermitage, and the Venice Biennale.

Elahi has presented lectures at the Tate Modern, the American Association of Artificial Intelligence, the International Association of Privacy Professionals, TedGlobal, and the World Economic Forum. Awards for his artistic achievement include grants from the Creative Capital Foundation, Art Matters, and the Ford Foundation/Phillip Morris National Fellowship. Reviews of Elahi’s work can be found in The New York Times, Forbes, Wired, CNN, and Al Jazeera, among many others. The artist also appeared on The Colbert Report in 2008.

The Identity Lecture Series
Elahi’s lecture will begin the VASD Program’s year-long consideration of Identity. Over the 2014-2015 academic year, the Program’s lecture series is investigating the ways creative thinkers are presenting, challenging, and manipulating the subject of identity in art, design, and culture. Examining identity is pertinent in many facets of contemporary life, including the incessant development and intimate integration of technology into daily life, the ease of travel and relocation, the changing recognition and validation of nontraditional gender roles and sexuality, the shifting perceptions of race, ethnicity, and immigration, and the increasingly normative occurrence of holding several different careers in a lifetime. By surveying a section of creative viewpoints on this subject, this VASD lecture series explores various manifestations of today’s protean self.

VASD Program
The Visiting Artist, Scholar, and Designer Program explores critical, diverse, and creative inquiry. This interdisciplinary initiative enriches the academic experience at RMCAD and serves the greater Denver-metro community. For more on VASD, click here.