[Safe + Sound]
Curated by Steven Cavanagh
Artists: Steven Cavanagh, Damian Dillon, Glenn Lockitch, James Needham-Walker, Yul Scarf, Sandra Winkworth
"Guarding the innermost secrets of our data lives, both laudable and necessary, is one thing.
The whole brouhaha over maintaining the chimera of our privacy, is another, and is as pointless and ludicrous as building a sand castle to protect us against a tidal wave"*
Safety is a chimera, a mythological creature composed of many parts, the many different ways we employ to feel, and keep ourselves safe. If we are threatened by virtual danger, a beast with many heads, then we are also threatened with physical danger, we fear and dwell within a sort of paranoia, stuck in an inertia of inability.
What sparks this uncertainty that causes us to question the role of our government bodies, our personal bodies? Our societies are bombarded by media threats of terrorism, migration, refugees, keep the borders closed, keep the Australians in, keep the boats out. You are safe, you are told repeatedly, we employ state of the art safety features, and we are watching you, to keep you safe.
In a society where privacy is conditional, personal details are bought and sold through third parties; the details of our lives become data. Our information is not really “ours”, once it’s out “there” we never really get it back. It looms and hovers, floats, zips and whirs through a space that we cannot see or touch. It exists as numbers and decimal points,
a language barely understood. We cannot comprehend the extent to which our information is shared, stolen, hijacked, re-used and discarded. Social media, online targeted marketing, Google sweetly finishing our sentences, the Internet knows us better than we know ourselves.
These ideas pervade and invade us, changing how we respond to constant threat, how we identify ourselves with the environment and those around us. We lock our doors while sitting in our homes. Locked in, we write lists, make plans, some awaiting that final moment of mankind’s failure, a tip in the delicate ecological balance of our planet,
a pissed off mother nature seeking just retribution. Are we ever really safe and sound?
Text by Ivana Jovanovic, 2016
[*] Stewart Wolpin, “Why Privacy is a 21st Century Myth.” Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stewart-wolpin/why-privacy-is-a-21st-cen_b_4677713.html (11 October, 2016)