NOME Gallery presents SAMIZDATA: Evidence of Conspiracy, Jacob Appelbaum’s first solo show in Germany, curated by Tatiana Bazzichelli. In cooperation with Disruption Network Lab.
The title of the show references the Russian word “samizdat”, an important form of dissident activity throughout the former Soviet bloc in which censored literature was clandestinely reproduced and distributed. Transferred to the 21st century, the activity also resonates with aspects of the Snowden Affair and WikiLeaks as regards the distribution of information that places involved people at risk.
For the first time, the artist is showing a series of six color infrared photos as cibachrome prints, portraits of his own network of colleagues and friends: Laura Poitras, Glenn Greenwald and David Miranda, Julian Assange, Sarah Harrison, William Binney and Ai Weiwei. The works were originally created as a sign of admiration and respect for the portrayed people and for their work that led to the “Snowden Affair” and beyond.
Appelbaum uses color infrared photography film that was originally produced to detect camouflaged targets and for use in agricultural surveillance and forensics investigations, to produce pictures that reveal more information than standard film.
The second exhibition piece is P2P (Panda to Panda), a collaboration with internationally acclaimed artist Ai Weiwei, commissioned by Rhizome and the New Museum in New York in 2015. For the work, the two artists shredded NSA documents once given to Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald and stuffed them into panda bears in Ai Weiwei’s home town of Beijing. Inside each panda, Weiwei and Appelbaum placed a micro SD memory card containing a surprise. The pandas were smuggled out of Beijing and traveled around the world, thus building a human network of smuggled information: Samizdat/a.
The third work, Schuld, Scham und Angst consists of pieces of jewelry filled with mixed media, shredded journalistic notes and historical, unredacted classified documents from the Summer of Snowden and the following years. The title relates to the emotions of journalists working with these materials: “fear”, the feeling that leads to the shredding of documents, “guilt” and “shame” in cognizance of the fact that journalists, too, have become collaborators in a culture of secrecy.
The work was created in collaboration with Manuela Benetton, Berit Gilma and Luzi Tornado.
Jacob Appelbaum is a post national independent computer security researcher, journalist and artist. He lives and works in Berlin.
SAMIZDATA: Evidence of Conspiracy is presented in collaboration with SAMIZDATA: Tactics and Strategies for Resistance by Disruption Network Lab, curated by Tatiana Bazzichelli at Kunstquartier Bethanien, September 11-12, 2015.