Communication Artefacts: Visual Practices as Evidence

Communication practices do not merely use media, art and design tools to examine and critique issues, they can themselves become methods of investigations. You're not just observing something as a memeber of the art community, but your work might become legal evidence. Maybe work doesn't have to be for traditional audiences in galleries, mass media, publications etc., but for lawyers, NGOs, members of supressed communities.

Institutional Critique

MoMA Poll (1970)

Here Haecker proposes a system as art. The question is WOuld the fact that govenor rockefeller has not denounced president nixons... Rockefeller was the Republican govenor of New York, and Kissinger was also a Trustee of MoMA - all these systems of power are related. David Rockefeller (chair of the trustees) tried to get the piece removed.

This is followed by the Information exhibition a few years later. At the time, the idea that an art gallery could participate in political debate was a radical idea. Arguably the idea of institutional critique has become institutionalised.

Forensic Architecure

A team of graphic designers, artists, architects, lawyers creating evidentiary artefacts: Building surveys, maps, spacial reproductions, videos, 3d models.

Forensis (Lat.) Pertaining to the Forum. Only in the 19th century does the term come to mean medical science in criminal investigation - its source as a public forum becomes lost.

Art gallery as a forum (as much as a court of law).

Piece on NSU murders at Documenta Kassel. Video of a 1:1 scale reproduction of the internet cafe, modelling of the spread of gunpwder - creating a counter narrative of the events on that day. Cues outside the video piece call on the German parliamentary system to reconsider the case. CDU dismisses this.

FA challenge the dichotomy between art and evidence.

[This piece also at the ICA] What happens to a piece like this when most of the visitors are English art students? If the piece wins a Turner Prize, does it make it more or less serious?

Mark Lombardi

Linar diagrams from sociograms (a form of drawing used in anthropology to track people's relationships.) Lombardi did these on politics, collapse of an international bank etc. Iran-Contra, Vatican Bank, Siverado Savings.

Working from syndicated news items, I begin each drawing by..

All of this information is true (pulled from the public record). Is this data visualisation, or a new form of evidence-making?

BCCI-ICIC & FAB (1972-91)

Tufte: Art and science have incommon the act of intense seeing Beautiful Evidence, Links and Causal Arrows: Ambiguity in Action

What exactly do the arrows mean? Tufte argues that a key, or dictionary helps to avoid the error of all arrows being the same.

Operational Images (Images that see)

Eye machine 1,2,3 introduces the concept of the operational image.

images without a social goal

machine vision and algorithms produce images by machines for machines. IMages are starting to do things in the world. As early as the 1980s, cruise missiles had a drawing in them of a real landscape (which they would then compare with real images)

Many operational contain coloured lines that show us what's important in the images (and what isn't). Superfluous reality is denied.

From warfare to marketing, human eyes are becoming obsolete - image making is for machines.

Back to FA

This work inverts the view of the operational image - a reversal of the forensic gaze. They challenge the governments monopoly on information in war. Hence artifacts like the community satellite.

[Spacial Reconstruction of yesidi ruins]

Part of the work here is to create instructions of volunteers to use kites to do detailed photogrametry. Photographic archeology. What is inscribed and recorded in media images? Every camera records from both ends - what it records, but also the date and the movement of the person holding the camera.

Threshold of Detectability

When the size of the object is close to the medium that records it. Work on the drone war in urban environments.

FA noticed a new kind of evidence - buildings that are intact, with a small hole in the roof. This is a new kind of missile with a delay fuse that detonates inside a house. When you're only looking at satellite images, you can't see evidence of these drone strikes. Objects smaller than the pixel grid disappear - object the size of a pixel are on a threshold. Legally, public satellite images are limited to 50cm/pixel. In this environment, the before and after of a drone strike look identical.

The relation between satellite image resolution and missile size allows the CIA to neither deny or confirm the strike. It's as if the missile is calibrated to the image technology. A 1:1 reconstruction of the room was shown at the Venice biennial.

[The uncounted] in the NYT Also the BBC piece on executions in Africa