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AUK Hosts Hasan Elahi

The AUK Department of Art and Graphic Design hosted the interdisciplinary artist Hasan Elahi, last March to speak about what inspired him to shed light on today's issues of surveillance, citizenship, migration, transport, and the challenges of borders and frontiers, through his art. At the event, he explained that the issues his work addresses came to be as a result of an experience he had gone through a few years earlier.

In 2002, Elahi discovered that his name had been mistakenly added to the US government's terrorist watch list, which was followed by intensive investigations conducted by the FBI. Following months of interrogations, he was cleared of suspicions, but was advised to keep the FBI informed of his whereabouts at all times. This inspired him to document each aspect of his life publicly through social media outlets, which the evolved into an open-ended art project in which he shared up-to-the-minute updates of his daily activities, including mundane ones, such as checking into hotel rooms, airports, and bathrooms, for example. He also tracked himself on Google Maps, released communication records, banking transactions and transportation logs. The ongoing project questions the consequences of living under constant surveillance.

He has presented his work in exhibition at much-acclaimed venues such as SITE Santa Fe, Pompidou Center, Sundance Film Festival, at the Venice Biennale, and has appeared on Al Jazeera, Fox News, and the Colbert Report. Previously, Elahi has spoken about his work to a broad range of audiences such as at the Tate Modern, the Einstein Forum, the American Association of Artificial Intelligence, the International Association of Privacy Professionals, TED, and the World Economic Forum.

His recent awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Prize, an Alpert/MacDowell Fellowship, and grants from the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, Art Matters Foundation, and Creative Capital. He is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Art at the University of Maryland. His work can be viewed at http://elahi.umd.edu/.

Hasan Elahi's talk came as part of the GDES Speakers' Series that has started last Fall and will run until the end of May. The upcoming talk will host- via Skype- Matt Rappinport, an internationally exhibited new media and installation artist, curator, and educator.

Hasan Elahi

Hasan Elahi

Hasan Elahi

Released by the Office of Public Affairs on the 25th April 2017

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