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In 2014, the OO7 undertook its first collaboration with another collective, the Brooklyn-based art collective artCodex who are a group of artists who also have their own practices but come together to collaborate on larger projects. At the core of their collective practice they engage in projects addressing contemporary social, political and economic issues. The members vary from project to project, but its core consists of Vandana Jain, Mike Estabrook, Glen Einbinder and Emmanuel Migrino.
The OO7 Collective and artCodex collaborated on an exhibition about building trust between communities in the face of a security obsessed society amidst ever-increasing surveillance. The exhibition was entitled Surveillapocalypse. The artists in artCodex included Mike Estabrook, Vandana Jain, Maria Hupfield and Jason Lujan.
The OO7 invited Howard Adler, Melody McKiver and Barry Pottle as OO7 Special Agents, while artCodex invited guest artists including Oasa Duverney, Laura Napier, Joshua Peters, David Gregory Wallace and Bryan Zimmerman. The host venue was FiveMyles Gallery, an artist-run-centre located in Crown Heights of Brooklyn, whose mission is to promote innovative experimental work.
The OO7 undertook a Skype conversation with artCodex to develop the theme for the exhibition and additional public programming that included a film screening of works by artCodex members and guests and OO7 participants Howard Adler and Ariel Smith. In order to keep costs down, since the OO7 do not apply for grant assistance, each artist created a thematic work addressing issues revolving around surveillance in the form of a large poster format. This allowed the OO7 to travel to New York with the rolled poster work. The work was installed with the artCodex work and the exhibition ran from June 7th to June 22nd, 2014. An impromptu site-specific tagging performance on St. John Street ensued upon completing her work on-site by OO7 Special Agent Melody McKiver.
Some of the works in the exhibition included “You Are Amongst Friends”, an interactive installation investigating trust in the face of increasing government and corporate observation, led by artCodex: On one side of the gallery space is a sign notifying visitors they are being watched. Participants are invited to sit at a computer and reply to the question, “What do you work hardest to keep secret?” The opposite side of the gallery holds a manual typewriter with the sign, “You are amongst friends, what do you want to share?” The contents of each was displayed and shared publicly.
OO7 artist Ron Noganosh created work entirely composed of microscopic images of surveillance camera’s reassembled as pixels to form the images of human and bird (owl) eyes, while Leo Yerxa’s graphite shadowy figure with the surveillance camera directly above referenced the onset of an Orwellian age. A small strip of masking tape affixed to the work with a code written in ink OG-4891 (1984 – George Orwell). Ace’s reworked his iconic image of the Baby Warrior and Otter Tail moccasins underscored with a numeric binary code text spelling out the word Footprint. Ariel Smith’s looped a static surveillance video shot outside her window on a small flat tablet, while Barry Pottle’s Inuit disc numbers assigned to Inuit in the Canadian North was juxtaposed against Howard Adler’s Indian Status Card with assigned numbers for himself and his brother. Rosalie Favell’s work was based on the Metis leader Louis Riel who was stocked and surveilled by the Canadian Government officials in the late 1800s. Riel was eventually tried for treason and brutally executed.
The exhibition brought together politically minded artists and activists to talk about surveillance as a tactic to dissuade political action, especially in terms of movements occurring at the time of the exhibition, Occupy and Idle No More. It also included important outreach to grassroots political movements to strengthen community building.
Exhibition Dates: Saturday, June 7 to Sunday, June 22, 2014
Barry Ace (Founding Member)
Rosalie Favell (Founding Member)
Ron Noganosh (Founding Member)
Leo Yerxa (Founding Member)
Special Agent: Howard Adler, Melody McKiver and Barry Pottle
VIDEO: Status by Howard Adler