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Paolo Cirio: Street Ghosts


The Public Art component of Nothing to Hide? Art, Surveillance & Privacy will be created in downtown Hartford.

A team from RAW will assist artist Paolo Cirio in selecting sites around downtown Hartford where unsuspecting pedestrians have been caught in Google Street View photos. The blurred faces in the photos create a ghostly presence.

On Saturday, May 13, the team and Mr. Cirio will visit the selected downtown sites to affix life-size cutouts of the anonymous people to buildings at the very locations where the Street View photos were taken.

Mr. Cirio has produced this project in over two dozen cities around the world, including London, Paris, New York City, Berlin, Montreal (see the video above), Sydney and Hong Kong.

According to Mr. Cirio’s website, “The artwork re-contextualized readymade informational material, and reenacted a social conflict: ghostly human bodies appear as casualties of the info-war in the city, a transitory record of collateral damage from the battle between corporations, governments, civilians and algorithms over the control of public and private information.”

Paolo Cirio: Street Ghosts
The image at left is from Google Street View. The image at right shows the Street Ghost affixed at the same location.

About the artist

Paolo Cirio works with legal, economic and semiotic systems of the information society. He investigates social fields impacted by the Internet, such as privacy, copyright, democracy and economics. He shows his research and intervention-based works through artifacts, photos, installations, videos, and public art. Paolo Cirio's art practice considers how society is impacted by the distribution, organization, and control of information. It embodies the conflicts, contradictions and potentials inherent to the social complexity of information society through a critical, provocative and proactive approach. His techniques of exposure, appropriation, and recontextualization of sensitive information and social processes provoke a new way of seeing and understanding modern complex social systems and dynamics. Cirio uses popular language, irony, interventions and seductive visuals to engage a wide public in critical issues and sophisticated works of art. His works often make contradictions apparent, expose mechanisms, and dispute their processes in order to debunk functions and perceptions of normative systems. Cirio's works of art ultimately propose creative alternatives beyond the socioeconomic critiques they offer. Cirio is particularly interested in how media and specific arrangements of information influence the creation and perception of cultural, political, and economic realities, as well as personal emotional states, interpersonal relationships, and instinctive behaviors.

Additional Info

The project will be previewed at the next Creative Cocktail Hour on Thursday, 4/20