Ethics, Documentary, and the Internet: Paolo Cirio in conversation with Julia Powles

12 Dec 2017

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This conversation between Paolo Cirio and Julia Powles for the exhibition 'Concrete Truth: Art and the Documentary' will explore how free speech can be reconciled with the right to a dignified image of vulnerable individuals, both on the internet and in the field of art.


Cirio’s project 'Obscurity,' featured in 'Concrete Truth,' will act as a case study to discuss what the artist calls “the ethics of representation as well as the aesthetics of ethics.” Obscurity obfuscates over ten million internet mugshots and criminal records for the “Right to Be Forgotten Law” being proposed in the United States. 

Paolo Cirio engages with legal, economic, and semiotic systems of the information society. His works investigate social fields impacted by the internet, such as privacy, copyright, democracy, and finance. In 2017, Cirio’s artworks have been presented and exhibited in art institutions including MIT Museum, Boston; Tate Modern, London; C/O Berlin; Museum für Fotografie, Berlin; Münchner Stadtmuseum; Musée National d’Histoire et d’Art of Luxembourg; and Haifa Museum of Art. He has won a number of awards, including the Golden Nica first prize at Ars Electronica in Linz and the Transmediale second prize in Berlin. 

Dr. Julia Powles is a research fellow at New York University School of Law and Cornell Tech, where she works on the law and politics of technology. Prior to coming to New York, Powles was a postdoctoral fellow in law and computer science at the University of Cambridge, a policy fellow and contributing editor at The Guardian newspaper, and speechwriter for the Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization. She has worked as a lawyer, scientific researcher, and clerked in the Federal Court of Australia and Commonwealth Administrative Appeal Tribunal, working on technology, intellectual property, and national security cases. 

This program is supported, in part, by Greenwich Collection, Ltd., National Endowment for the Arts, New York City Council District 34; New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. 

This event is free and open to the public.

Exhibiting artists

Paolo Cirio


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