Hasan Elahi, ‘Tracking Transience’, 2003, Bowdoin College Museum of Art

Launched in 2003, Hasan Elahi’s Tracking Transience captures the artist’s location and activities on an ongoing basis. Not unlike Marcel Duchamp’s Wanted: $2,000 Reward, on view in the first gallery, Elahi’s work exposes the disciplinary use of a ubiquitous medium that might often go unnoticed—in this case, digital pictorial recording. The work amounts to an act of self-defense, conceived after the artist was mistakenly identified as a terrorist in the wake of the attacks of September 11, 2001. By co-opting surveillance as an artistic strategy, Elahi simultaneously turns portraiture inside out. As the artist explains: “Instead of having the camera pointed at me, I have basically held up a mirror and pointed that camera outward and in that process I am generating so much noise or you could say a smoke screen or a camouflage. There is so much of my information out there that I am completely blurred in there.”

Image rights: Collection of the artist

Collection of the artist

About Hasan Elahi