Censor Cube (2020)

Technology isn’t only about the creation and use of tools but about the creation of metaphors, said the artist James Bridle in his New Dark Age: Technology and the End of the Future (2018). I wandered in many museums using Museum Views from Google Arts & Culture, a platform that consents you to virtually enter a set of museums (actually, thousand) using a 360° view. During my passage, and dependently on my position in the museum, the algorithm had tarnished various paintings or sculptures, setting a censoring patina over them. Is this a work of the algorithm? Is this a work of the museal institutions? Is this a work of mine? As our age has shown we can’t separate (not anymore, and not entirely) the specificity of every single space to obtain hermetic and unconstrained spaces. Is an old motif belonging to the age of the Enlightenment, that comes to us today, in the form of a dead sunk into its coffin. 

Here the historical, economic, political, and comical aspects of the act of censorship converge into One to generate a contradiction. Is about the contradiction of our times: the elitity of historical institutions as well as the elitity of the algorithm of control, focused on their selling product, shows to the consumer their inner functionality. The cards on the table are overturned, and after that, they return to the starting position. As if the Nada of They Lives (1988) finds himself stuck in an unceasing loop of “put the glasses on!“, “put the glasses off”, and so on. As W. J. T. Mitchell said about the relationship between Art “x” Ambient (I would propose the “Art x Algorithm x Ambient” form), is not only a fact concerning a static positioning but also an anachronistic dislocation and violent marking. As in Nicolas Poussin’s painting Plague of Ashdod (1628-1631), where the powerless idol-statue of Dagon is dethroned by the new and shiny idol-figure of the Ark of the Covenant.

The images above show several examples within some museums I recently visited. I purposely left the HUD and museum names over the images.