Themes surrounding surveillance, the loss of the private citizen, secrecy, and empowering individuals make up Thought Crimes: The Art of Subversion at DiverseWorks. These works from collectives and individuals challenge the veil of secrecy that is rampant in post-Patriot Act culture. Thought Crime’s interactive stance gives the viewer plenty to do. Humor, subversive action, and revealed secrets, served as a potent subtext.
You can host your own pirate radio show at Gregory Green’s WCBS Radio Caroline 90.5. Sign up for a shift and own the air waves for an hour. Strap yourself up with a micro-camera attached to a giant pink balloon and take on a surveillance mission with Jenny Marketou’s Flying Spy Potatoes: Mission the Docks, Houston, TX. Preemptive Media’s Zapped! encourages us to release roaches at Wal-Mart armed with Radio Frequency Identification Tags (RFID). The roaches transmit messages like “Protect the 4th Amendment.” This Orwellian technology is being tested at Spring Branch ISD to keep track of students’ activities. Preemptive Media also conducted a workshop for school kids to teach them how to stay off the RFID radar.
The Yes Men pulled off the biggest coups in media history when they impersonated Dow spokespeople on the 20th anniversary of the Bhopal disaster (the worst industrial accident in history). Identity Correction presents the video archive from the impersonation to the aftermath when Dow’s stock plummeted. A handy bookmark instructs viewers on the ways of Identity Correction.
Trevor Paglen’s understated, but elegant, donor wall covered with odd names like “Moon Smoke” and “Omar Response,” identifies 1188 Active Classified Military Programs. Joe Wezorek’s War President looks like a Chuck Close rip-off until you get closer and realize George Bush’s face is made up of photos of dead soldiers. Thought Crimes leaves us with some mighty questions to ponder. Just what are we agreeing to through indifference? Have we become desensitized to the ongoing invasion of the citizen?
Thought Crimes continues at DiverseWorks through May 28th, 2005.
Reprinted from ARTSHOUSTON