Digital drawing 2015.

Digital drawing 2015.

Digital drawing 2015

Digital drawing 2015

Who is watching you?
surveillance camera, internet web cam feed
Miguel Cortez
2010

“It was terribly dangerous to let your thoughts wander when you were in any public place or within range of a telescreen. The smallest thing could give you away. A nervous tic, an unconscious look of anxiety, a habit of muttering to yourself—anything that carried with it the suggestion of abnormality, of having something to hide. In any case, to wear an improper expression on your face… was itself a punishable offense.”
- George Orwell, 1984, Book 1, Chapter 5

Forms of Surveillance have existed for centuries now from the “slave passes” that allowed slave owners to keep track and control the movements of their slaves who more than likely did not know how to read or write. Enslaved people who traveled from one place to another were supposed to carry a pass signed by their owner. Those without such a pass could be arrested, jailed, and detained as a runaway. Yet the slave pass system was sometimes subverted by the rare slaves who could write, such as Frederick Douglass. These literate slaves could create their own passes and might thus gain freedom for themselves and other slaves.

In the 1920s, government surveillance spread to political radicals, especially workers trying to organize union activity. J. Edgar Hoover headed this government surveillance unit which would later become the FBI. As the 20th century advanced, computer technology proved a powerful enhancement to the regime of surveillance. This allowed most devices and databases to be monitored and evaluated, including automobiles, Your car can be tracked by GPS, and your spending habits can be seen by accessing your credit card records. Internet and email are monitored in the workplace and cameras are just about everywhere recording your every move.

This was shown during 18th st. Pilsen Open Studios 2010 @ Cobalt Studio. This was also shown at Ben Russell Gallery in 2009 and you can read a review of that show here:http://mcortez.tumblr.com/post/138074518/ruse-at-ben-russell-gallery

 

Jeevatma Leap
computer print, dimensions variable
Miguel Cortez, 2007

Jeevatma is the concept of the “soul” in the Ayyavazhi religion of South India. I came across this while researching for this series which takes the idea of empathy a step further by trying to imagine our consciousness jumping/leaping from one person to another. Just like accessing information from different computers, how would it feel to enter someone else’s body and have access to their memories, feelings, etc..?

Recycle your ideas 
photo documentation
miguel cortez, 2006

art statement:
Recycling is used to describe a series of activities that includes collecting recyclable materials that would otherwise be considered waste, sorting and processing recyclables into raw materials and manufacturing the raw materials into either making the same product(closed loop) or new products(open loop). An example of open-loop recycling is using plastic bottles to make pipes. Artists use these processes all the time. Some come up with an idea and create work using a certain style/media and repeat this for a long time to please his/her commercial gallery/collectors(this is closed loop recycling).While others may gather old ideas, twist and turn them, throw them up in the air and some new concept pops up(open loop recycling).

Exist Within Your Timeline #2
Braille engraved plastic sign
Miguel Cortez, 2007

Series statement
I’ve always wondered about humanity’s never ending quest to define existence throughout the ages via religion or philosophy and I started asking myself these questions back in May: Where was I before I was born? We are born on such a year and then die on such a year in linear time. Did our consciousness/soul exist before and will it exist after? Or are we limited to exist just in our designated timeline? From these questions arose this series of artwork.

Everyday observations
Handmade book of digital photos
2005

We all have everyday rituals that shape our lives, especially those of us that work full-time; we wake up at a certain time, shower, brush our teeth, walk, wait for the bus/train, or drive. And after you spend 8 hours a day doing something you may or may not like, then you go home, sleep, wake up and repeat process. This may seem monotonous and boring, but for me, I found inspiration to do the following art series: a digital documentation of shapes, patterns, textures, scenes that I encounter on my way to and from work everyday.
—–mcortez, february 2005

The discussion
Acrylic on canvas
2003

We are a cycle of shit
mixed media on canvas
2003

Waiting
Acrylic on canvas
2002

The encounter
Acrylic on canvas
2002

Magnetism
Oil and acrylic on wood
2002

Hypercube
Acrylic on canvas
2001

A trip to lunacy
acrylic on canvas
2001

Tug of war #1 and 2
Mixed media on canvas
2001

Labyrinth
oil on canvas
2001

Lapsus #4
Acrylic on canvas
1999

Don’t fall behind…
Mixed media on wood
1998

A few small nips…
mixed media on canvas
1994

The Birth of Lilith
Mixed media on canvas
1993

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Burial of the stoned sardine
oil and ink on canvas
1992

Premonition 5
Oil, acrylic and ink on canvas
1990