One million U.S. Americans are sorted by political affiliation and exposed to public persecution in the aftermath of the 2012 presidential election.
For months, Paolo Cirio secretly stole data from Twitter.com on over one million Americans. Using a sophisticated sifting process, he determined the political affiliation of those people and scored their public statements and social connections in terms of the likelihood that they aligned with a political position.
The result is a database on the website Persecuting.us with one million U.S. Americans sorted by political affiliation, and therefore exposed to the danger of future public persecution.
Persecuting.us offers a platform where everyone can take part in a participatory model pushed to extremes, engaging people in surveying and persecuting each other in a form of info-civil-war of political polarization, which can potentially erupt into defamation, intimidation and oppression of domestic enemies.
This art project is a massive citizen-sorting database organized along political lines, much like the private holdings that have amassed databases of voters in order to influence and monitor the electorate.
During the last election, Twitter was used to track down people’s opinion, promote candidates by buying trending topics in public debates and invite citizen participation through tweeting their political statements. However, Twitter is a private company which monitors, manipulates and sells data on personal and public trends.
This project breaks boundaries in art transgression with a Social Sculptural Performance made by a mass of people arranged and involved in an artwork without their permission. The accidental participants become part of a transformative spectacle with an unsettling narrative.
The offline art installation evokes the activity of wiretapping the Internet to identify political activities. Through an audio installation the audience at the exhibition space can listen to an over-two thousand hour-long track of robotic voices reading selected statements of US citizens sorted by their political involvement.
Persecuting US is the third project by Paolo commenting on contemporary privacy issues. Just two months ago, Street Ghosts, a project about Google Street View, generated media attention and concern worldwide. In 2011, Face to Facebook hit over one thousand worldwide media outlets just one week after its publication.
Paolo is currently busy with a new project about global offshore finance that will be published shortly.
Thanks for the attention.