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2002, English
22×28 cm, 128 pages, 51 color and 16 b/w ill., softcover
ISBN 978-0-9711193-7-6
Design
Surface
Status
Available

Always There offers a comprehensive survey of American artist Julia Scher’s work. The artist’s installations and performances have always featured a complex relation to techno-social control, demonstrating our complicity in the proliferating technologies used to surveil both our physical and virtual identities. As Brian Wallis writes in his introduction, “Scher’s work breaks linguistic codes of security, analyzing the rhetorics of surveillance discourse to allow the savvy user to manipulate and reconstitute those ‘bits’. This approach is ... akin to that of hackers, who, like Scher, invert the notion of usability, turning the practical on its head. On one level, this radical reversibility undoubtedly stems from some fundamental technoskepticism, but it also shows the artist’s more complicated skepticism about the visual and geographical determinants of contemporary space and how they impact the practices of everyday life.”


The texts discuss how in the aftermath of 9-11, issues of surveillance, data harvesting and scoptophilia have acquired a new meaning. According to author Andrew Ross, “Scher is a wholly political artist with a keen eye and ear for the iconography and poetry of power, especially when it crystallizes into the operational jargon of aggressive intelligence systems.”