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1997 - 1999
Between November 1997 and February 1998, the Bureau of Inverse Technology (BIT) launched and flew a remote control plane, nose-mounted with a miniature video camera and transmitter, through Silicon Valley.
This effort to surveil—or counter-surveil—the burgeoning capital of the tech industry resulted in no actionable intelligence. Instead, the flight recordings became the basis for a grainy, black-and-white landscape study, with spare subtitles interpreting the landscape of Silicon Valley and the historical and ideological forces that shaped it.
Although the resulting work can be classified as video art, it was also an experiment with network technologies, and one that was deeply and critically engaged with the internet on an infrastructural level. BIT Plane was, above all, an investigation into the nature of information itself. Highlighting the limits of surveillance and photographic truth, BIT's project contended that information is in fact "a property of people and communities and discussions, and actual work...not something you can just take a picture of and steal." Not even from the sky.
BIT Plane is exhibited as part of Net Art Anthology, Rhizome's two-year exhibition of Net Art History.
Note: video includes audio.
Credit: Copyright of the artist, courtesy of Video Data Bank, www.vdb.org, School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Alexei Shulgin and Josephine Bosma in Conversation
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