Living in a Post-Private World / Hyperallergic

The DIY scanner at neverhitsend’s ‘Post Private’ (all images courtesy the artists unless otherwise noted)

The DIY scanner at neverhitsend’s ‘Post Private’ (all images courtesy the artists unless otherwise noted)

LOS ANGELES — In the wake of Edward Snowden’s National Security Agency (NSA) leaks, which continue to reveal more about the American government’s epic surveillance program, it seems pretty meta to make art about being spied on. Yet what we read and understand about the NSA is filtered through the media, our ideas about privacy often divorced from the present tense. What if we were more aware of the thoughts and exchanges that we’re unwittingly making public? That’s the intention of neverhitsend, a 12-person LA-based arts and technology collective that formed in 2013, post–Snowden leaks, to discuss issues of digital communications today. At the opening night reception of their recent two-day exhibition Post Private, at Monte Vista Projects, neverhitsend brought audience members into the fold for conversations about whether or not there is such a thing as “private” anymore. Meanwhile, a security camera recorded the goings on — just to keep an eye on things.

Here’s how it began: An email was sent out before the opening, asking those reading it to help “author a collective e-reader.” All who intended on coming were asked to bring in “any and all material in response to the prompt ‘post-private.’” This could be anything, from an old family photograph to a used Playboymagazine to a birth certificate. At the opening, each person selected a glass plate from a shelf on the wall and brought it with them to the DIY scanner, which looked like it was under the tent of a 19th-century camera obscura. The selected item was covered with that plate, which had painted on it either the phrase “never hit send,” swirly designs, a question mark, or a pattern that looked like enlarged fingerprint lines; then it was scanned and exposed, going into the creation of a new object  a collectively, anonymously authored ebook of all the submissions that will be sent to whoever signed the email list.

read the full story on Hyperallergic: http://hyperallergic.com/115494/living-in-a-post-private-world/