About the History of Art for the Intelligence Community

History of Art for the Intelligence Community is a front-end for Carnivore, the project that mimics FBI's net surveillance software. Web-usage data of a surveillance target is displayed via well-known masterpeces by works by Cezanne, Van Gogh, and others to give trained operatives clear insight into the target's web activities.

The project originally commissioned for Medienturm consists of a website where web users have a chance to follow, in real-time, the web and e-mail usage of the target.

The launch of the project was organized on Oct 26 2002 within the context of the Steierische Herbst and was staged at the Neue Gallerie in Graz. The installation contains the same real-time views of online activity via old masters.

Here are two possible or exemplary interpretations of this work:

# When artists focus their attention on governmental surveillance techniques, it is mainly to make them "look bad." However, humanity has a tendency, at once unique and ancient, to accept new technologies -- and, in particular, the aesthetics they give rise to. This project is an effort to dispense with normative uses of aesthetics as a technique subordinated to overt or parochial political views. Instead, it gives primacy to aethetics by providing an enjoyable visual aspect to practices that, under "normal" circumstances, would typically be viewed as unacceptable.

# New media typically fails to engage with the epigones of art and, as a result, contemporary artistic efforts fail to engage with the audiences habituated to earlier works. This project seeks to encourage old-media-oriented audiences to consider the many virtues of truly contemporary aesthetic possibilities.

This is who did what:
Author: Vuk Cosic
Commisioned by: Sandro Droschl, Medienturm
Neue Galerie show curated by: Peter Weibel
Programming: Bojan Mihelac, Render Space
Carnivore software by: Radical Software Group
Flash: Gregor Zakelj , Render Space
Photoshop: Irena Wölle
Big thanks also to Ted Byfield

  • Neue Galerie - Graz
    27.10 - 25.11. 2002.
    pictures and info

  • Il Ritorno di Vuk Cosic , Random, Italy
  • History of Art for the Intelligence Community, Mladina, Slovenia