██████ is Sublime Propaganda—
Elizabeth Moran, Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento & Caroline Sinders
May 20th—end of Pandemia
Spectral Lines announces its fourth exhibition, ██████ is Sublime Propaganda,
featuring works by artists Elizabeth Moran, Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento, and Caroline Sinders.
“Truth Isn’t Truth,”– Rudy Giuliani, 2019
██████ is Sublime Propaganda reflects on our current understanding of reality in an era of “Truth Isn't Truth.” The works in this show contemplate our individual attempts to find meaning in the everyday world by decoding mass information. Like prisoners in Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, we are battling the conflicting desires to understand the reality outside the cave, and to maintain the comfort of our lives inside, where we can only see the shadows. These shadows—that in the 21st century, take the form of “opinions of the truth” based on our data profiles collected and traded by the likes of Facebook, Google, and others—provide the comfort of reassurance and familiarity. We delude ourselves by optimistically trusting that the overload of information on our screens was indeed fact-checked in some capacity. Reassured of our personal points of view, we choose not to further investigate the content we consume, because frankly, we are too exhausted to do so.
Elizabeth Moran’s Backward ran sentences until reeled the mind, a series of photographs of scanned microfilm from the TIME, Inc. archive, investigates the early days of fact-checking through the stories of the magazine’s first professional journalistic fact-checkers—a role created by TIME in 1923, and held exclusively by women until 1971. The poetic fact-checking advertisements show the company’s commitment to Truth and Ethics of the 1920s, in order to battle the dissemination of “fake news” of the yellow press. Prints made from digital scans of microfilm of photographs of original
TIME issues not only re-present the magazine’s pages containing these advertisements but also the marks (tears, scratches, and pixelation) of every media conversion and transformation over the last century—from offset print to microfilm to digitization to ink-jet print.
Caroline Sinders’ video Anger, Disgust, Fear, Happiness, Sadness, Surprise, sheds light on the creation of false information. The video reveals the inaccuracy of a facial recognition surveillance algorithm developed in the 1980s, designed to estimate emotions, which is commonly used by most surveillance software surrounding us today. Sinders offers a set of GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS
FOR EMOTION OBFUSCATION IN THE TIME OF SURVEILLANCE in order avoid truthful capture by the algorithm, and to demonstrate the biased subjectivity of surveillance industry.
Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento’s photograph Car depicts a vehicle set aflame, accompanied by a set of instructions of how the work will be exhibited: A new vehicle will be selected by artist, purchased
with funds from exhibition venue or purchaser, and the steps shall be repeated: purchase vehicle, obtain title to vehicle, and set title to vehicle and vehicle aflame again. This piece invites the viewer
to examine their innate bias when confronted with new information. What power and agency does
the artist have, and did the initial event of the artist purchasing a car and setting it aflame even
Elizabeth Moran (b. 1984, Houston, Texas) lives and works in New York. She received her Master of Fine Arts and Master of Arts in Visual and Critical Studies from California College of the Arts in 2014. Moran’s work has been exhibited internationally, most recently at Massimo Ligreggi Gallery in Catania, Italy (2019) and Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas (2019). Her work was recently featured in VICE and The Dallas Morning News.
Caroline Sinders is a critical designer and artist. For the past few years, she has been examining the intersections of artificial intelligence, abuse, and politics in digital conversational spaces. She has worked with the United Nations, Amnesty International, IBM Watson, the Wikimedia Foundation and others. Sinders has held fellowships with the Harvard Kennedy School, the Mozilla Foundation, Pioneer Works, Eyebeam, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the Sci Art Resonances program with the European Commission, and the International Center of Photography. Her work has been featured in the Tate Exchange in Tate Modern, Victoria and Albert Museum, MoMA PS1, LABoral, Wired, Slate, Quartz, the Channels Festival and others. Sinders holds a Masters from New York University's Interactive Telecommunications Program.
Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento is an arts lawyer and scholar interested in the relationship between art & law, with a focus on tangible and intangible property, copyright and appropriation, complex contracts and negotiations, moral rights, freedom of expression, and artists’ legacies. In 2010, Sarmiento founded the Art & Law Program, a New York-based colloquium that focuses on the study of law
as a linguistic system, institutional force, and power structure, with a particular focus on how the discourses and practices of law and visual culture impact each other, self-governance, history,