Access Code (2011)

A digital print, a QR code and a security camera with a live feed to your smart phone are used to bring into question the growing digital divide through tiered access.

Full Description

The experience that viewers can have with Access Code is variable depending on their level of technological knowledge, their ability to access a smart phone, and their trust of the artist. Entry into the piece is through the printed image in the gallery. While consideration of the aesthetics of this two dimensional image is available to all, for those who recognize the QR code in the image, there is more to explore. The QR code can be scanned with any smart phone that has a QR reader application installed (these are available freely through any smart phone application store, and many who own smart phones already have one version or another on their device). Once scanned, the code automatically directs the smart phone to a webpage that requests the viewer’s name and e-mail. If they trust the artist enough to enter that information, the viewer is given access to a live streaming view of the gallery space from an all seeing security camera above. Once the webpage for the live stream has been visited, the viewer can save that bookmark and access that privileged view at anytime and from anyplace they desire. Through this tiered process of interaction with the work, Access Code addresses limitations of accessibility, trust, privilege and power.

While some may find the limitations on interaction to be frustrating, they are encouraged to examine that feeling, and the structures that have come together to make this experience possible. We are becoming a society where the technologically enabled have a distinct informational advantage over those who are not enabled. From this disparity, a power differential is created. Access Code highlights this digital divide by allowing only those with the privilege of technology, technological knowledge (and a dash of trust) to fully interact with the work and acquire the view from above.

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