NEW YORK, January 8, 2013— The Sheila C. Johnson Design Center (SJDC) at Parsons The New School for Design presents The Public Private, the first New York exhibition of contemporary art that explores the impact of social media and new technologies on the relationship between the public and private realm.
“Social media has radically redefined the boundaries between the public and the private,” said curator Christiane Paul, an associate professor in the School of Media Studies at The New School and an adjunct curator of New Media Arts at the Whitney Museum of American Art. “The messages, images, as well as likes and dislikes we share with friends and families are accessible to corporations and subject to commercial and social data mining. Our daily moves are open to various forms of tracking. What was once considered personal and private has become increasingly public in a cultural shift, entailing a reformulation of our identity.”
The artworks brought together in The Public Private—several presented for the first time in the United States, including —address these issues from psychological, legal, and economic perspectives and use strategies ranging from hacking to self-surveillance to reflect upon the profound changes in our understanding of identity, personal boundaries, and self-representation.
Among the works on view are Paolo Cirio and Alessandro Ludovico’s Lovely Faces/Face to Facebook, showing for the first time in New York. It is a multimedia installation of one million Facebook profiles, which were appropriated by the artists, filtered using facial-recognition software, and then posted on a custom-made dating website sorted by facial expressions. Eva and Franco Mattes’ The Others is a video installation composed of 10,000 photos the Mattes have acquired through a software glitch that gives remote access to personal computer files. The core of the work is not just the presentation of these images, but the act of “stealing” and moving them from the private into the public realm.
Other artists and works represented in the gallery include Jill Magid’s Evidence Locker, Luke Dubois' Missed Connections, Wafaa Bilal’s 3rdi, Carlo Zanni’s Self Portrait with Friends, Panoptic Panorama #2: Five People in a Room by James Coupe, Paulo Cirio’s Street Ghosts, and Ben Grosser’s Facebook Demetricator.
“In probing the slippages between private lives and public personae, between personal opinion and public disclosure, the works in this exhibition reveal the ambiguities inherent in our every exchange,” said Radhika Subramaniam, director and chief curator of the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center. “They are the site for a new political education, one in which we are all instructed, gladly or not.”
Public programs, including conversations with the participating artists, will take place during the exhibition run. For more information, visit the SJDC website.
About the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center
The Sheila C. Johnson Design Center is an award-winning campus center for Parsons The New School for Design that combines learning and public spaces with exhibition galleries to provide an important new downtown destination for art and design programming. The mission of the Center is to generate an active dialogue on the role of innovative art and design in responding to the contemporary world. Its programming encourages an interdisciplinary examination of possibility and process, linking the university to local and global debates. The center is named in honor of its primary benefactor, New School Trustee and Parsons Board Chair Sheila C. Johnson. The design by Lyn Rice Architects is the recipient of numerous awards, including an Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects. For more information please visit www.newschool.edu/sjdc.