On Visibility and Agency: Hasan Elahi and Aliza Shvarts in Conversation
Thursday, September 26
from 6 to 8pm
Moderated by the Foundation’s Executive and Artistic Director Sara Reisman, On Visibility and Agency addressed the politics of visibility in a time of ubiquitous surveillance. Artist Hasan Elahi’s practice of sousveillance, self-surveillance he maintains in an effort to retain agency in the face of heightened security measures, was brought into dialogue with Aliza Shvarts’ research into the dynamic between vision and power, what it means to be “made visible,” and how contemporary artists use their practices to explore and critique the complex intersections of authority and representation.
Hasan Elahi is an artist whose work examines issues of surveillance, citizenship, migration, transport, and the challenges of borders and frontiers. His work has been presented in numerous exhibitions at venues such as SITE Santa Fe, Centre Georges Pompidou, the Sundance Film Festival, the Gwangju Biennale, and the Venice Biennale. His work is frequently in the media and has been covered by The New York Times, Forbes, Wired, and has appeared on Al Jazeera, Fox News, and The Colbert Report. Elahi has spoken about his work to a broad range of audiences such as Tate Modern, 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, an Alpert/MacDowell Fellowship, grants from Creative Capital, Art Matters Foundation, the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, and he is a recipient of a Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award. He is currently Professor and Director of the School of Art at George Mason University and lives and works outside of Washington, DC.
Aliza Shvarts is an artist and writer who takes a queer and feminist approach to reproductive labor and language. Her recent work focuses on testimony and circulations of speech in the digital age. She received a BA from Yale University (2008) and is completing a PhD in Performance Studies, NYU. Shvarts was a 2014 recipient of the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant, a 2014-2015 Helena Rubinstein Fellow in Critical Studies at the Whitney Independent Study Program, a 2017 Critical Writing Fellow at Recess Art, and is currently a 2019-20 A.I.R. Gallery Artist Fellow and a Joan Tisch Teaching Fellow at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Her artwork been shown at the Tate Modern in London, FUTURA in Prague, the Athens Biennale in Greece, and the LOOP International Film Festival in Barcelona; Universidad de los Andes in Bogota, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, SculptureCenter, Participant Inc, Abrons Art Center, Lévy Gorvy, and Matthew Gallery in New York; the Slought Foundation in Philadelphia; and Artspace in New Haven, CT. Her writing has been published in Whitechapel Documents in Contemporary Art: Practice, The Feminist and Queer Information Studies Reader, TDR/The Drama Review, Women & Performance, and The Brooklyn Rail. Awards include 2008 Lloyd Mifflin Prize for English at Yale, 2017 Franco Coli Dissertation Award from NYU, and 2019 Young Scholar Award from the International Association for Aesthetics.