Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Somebody is watching you

Center unveils new exhibition

Express Staff Writer

“Pantopticon (Neural Architecture no. 4)” by Deborah Aschheim. Courtesy of the artist at the Sun Valley Center for the Arts.

Surveillance is an accepted practice throughout our culture, business and personal daily lives. Call it paranoia or safety precautions, the chance of the government tracking people is more likely than not.

In a new multidisciplinary exhibition, "I Spy: Surveillance and Security," the Sun Valley Center for the Arts explores the idea of surveillance through four visual artists and lectures by Frederick Lane, an expert on cyber-technology, and John Lehman, a former Secretary of the Navy. Lane's talk will be on Wednesday, March 10 at 7 p.m. at nexStage theatre in Ketchum. Lehman's talk will be on Thursday, April 1, at 7 p.m. at the Center in Ketchum.

The public is invited to a free opening celebration on Friday, Feb. 26, from 5:30-7 p.m. Artists Deborah Aschheim and Hasan Elahi, who has appeared on the "Colbert Report," will each give short talks about their work beginning at 6 p.m.

"The attempted bombing on Christmas Day of a Detroit-bound flight reopened the nationwide conversation about security and surveillance that has been going on since Sept. 11, 2001 and long before that, at least since the FBI was founded in 1908," said Courtney Gilbert, The Center's curator of visual arts. "But, it's not just the government that has unprecedented access into our private lives. Thanks to technology, so do corporations, which use cameras in retail stores to study buying habits and market products to us based on our Internet use."

The four artists featured in the exhibition approach these questions from different perspectives. Aschheim will recreate a sculptural "neural column" based on her series of installations called "Neural Architecture," which "grew" more senses each time it was exhibited at a new site.

Elahi will create an installation for The Center based on "Tracking Transience: The Orwell Project," an online database he began of his travels and finances after he was erroneously targeted as a suspected terrorist and interrogated by the FBI. Artist, writer and geographer Trevor Paglen takes long-distance photographs of secret military installations, U.S. spy satellites in orbit and badges created for classified military programs. Paul Shambroom photographs Homeland Security training environments and personnel in simulated disaster settings.

The free opening celebration will take place on Friday, Feb. 26, 5:30--7 p.m. with artists Aschheim and Elahi giving talks at 6 p.m. For details, visit or call 726-9491.

Sabina Dana Plasse:

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