Artists: Jared Brown and Kim Westfall
Exhibition title: Q-SEE SIGD2
Venue: Bb, Baltimore, US
Date: June 18 – July 9, 2016
Photography: all images copyright and courtesy the artists and Bb, Baltimore
In his 1836 essay “Nature,” Ralph Emerson outlines the idea of the transparent eye-ball, a metaphor for his state of being when observing nature. “… I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or particle of God.” The invisible eye-ball is a state of only-seeing and seems to rely on a level of attentiveness that is unique to being free from corporeality.
It’s difficult to imagine that idealized transparency now. The number of eye-balls in any given landscape finds those of organic origin in the minority, and those organic ones that remain are seldom free from selfsurveillance, let alone external surveillance.
Q-SEE SIGD2 is a brand of a popular product in urban landscapes, the dummy security camera. These cameras tread the line between visible and invisible, small enough to be considered a plausible eye but big enough to be noticed in a field of information. This one is sold with the copy line, “Sometimes a bluff is good enough,” and relies entirely on its own visibility. Whether it transmits images to some unknown entity or not puts the camera’s subjects in a place to make Pascal’s Wager or risk visibility.
When Bb was broken into on April 29, we asked around about local, visible security cameras, hoping to find a trail back to our studio residents’ stolen property. Unsurprisingly, we discovered that the nearby and highly visible camera on the corner of Franklin and Eutaw is a dummy. Maybe it was a more plausible size 10 years ago. The second time we were broken into, we were informed that an image was recorded of the thief, but we weren’t told where the camera was.
The aspect of visibility pervades both bodies of work on display in Q-SEE SIGD2, in Jared’s as he explores the role of the obscured authority as spiritual presence and in Kim’s as she uses the craft oriented medium of latch-hook to depict the relationship between bodies, self-care, and arms of violence.
Jared Brown (b. Chicago, Illinois) operates through DJ sets, social media, short videos and guerilla style performances. He has performed as part of the duo Sexoesthetic at Our Union, Rock512Devil, and has performed at Nighttime, Floristree. He received a BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art, and he currently lives and makes work in Chicago. http://www.doyouknowjaredbrown.com/
Kim Westfall (b. 1986, Seoul, South Korea) is an artist living and working in Brooklyn, New York. Recent exhibitions include Jerry Bruckheimer Films, Sensei Gallery; Thierry Goldberg Gallery, and Stop the World I Want To Get Off, Big Medium Gallery. She received a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design in 2008. http://westfalleast.tumblr.com/