Backdoored

Backdoor, noun. [Hacker slang] A feature or defect of a computer system or device that allows surreptitious unauthorised access to data.

Backdoored (2016 – 2018) explored the global phenomenon of self-surveillance,  through the systematic collection of screenshots taken through compromised botnet-fodder security cameras. The project is a merging of software stack, image archive and a 3 year performatory engagement by the artist.

As we are increasingly watched and quantified by the state and corporate world, we also seem to have internalised this activity, constantly engaged in digitally-mediated watching of our possessions, homes, family, employees and pets. In this way, Backdoored forms a kind of social document: a global mapping of contemporary anxieties.

These are images whose ‘content’ resides as much in the process of their creation as in what they display. Machine-generated waste images and visual overspill, they are the bastard issue of human insecurities and technological failures. 

Backdoored, Image credit: Nathan Chandler, courtesy of The Lowry
(This and main image) Backdoored, 2017. Image credit: Nathan Chandler, courtesy of The Lowry

Backdoored actively locates the viewer within the role of watcher. Here theyare invited to face their own voyeuristic impulses, experience the queasy tension between shock and fascination that the images evoke, and consider their own complicity in the surveillance machine.

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