Paolo Cirio and Alessandro Ludovico
Face to Facebook
This project was a social experiment by appropriating one million Facebook profiles, filtering them with face-recognition software, and then posting 250.000 of them on a custom-made dating website sorted by facial expression A.I. analysis. The dating website (Lovely-Faces.com) provided a stage for anybody to interact with Facebook users’ facial expressions and personality traits, while Facebook had to confront the artwork made with its appropriated material. The project took place over five days of thrilling personal, media and legal reactions, which became a Global Mass Media Performance. During the performance the artwork received over a thousand mentions in the international press, eleven legal threats, five death threats, and several letters from the lawyers of Facebook. The project addressed surveillance, privacy and the economy of social media monopolies as well as art interventions within global media.
Paolo Cirio engages with legal, economic and semiotic systems of the information society. His works investigates social fields impacted by the Internet, such as privacy, copyright, democracy and economy. He shows his research and intervention-based works through prints, installations, videos, and public art.
Cirio’s art practice considers how society is impacted by the distribution, organization, and control of information. It embodies the conflicts, contradictions and potentials inherent to the social complexity of information society through a critical, provocative and proactive approach. His controversial artworks have unsettled institutions as such as Facebook, Amazon, Google, VISA, Pearson, Cayman Islands and NATO, among others.
Cirio uses popular language, irony, interventions and seductive visuals to engage a wide public in critical issues and sophisticated works of art. His works often make contradictions apparent, expose mechanisms, and dispute their processes in order to debunk functions and perceptions of normative systems. Cirio’s works of art ultimately propose creative alternatives beyond the socioeconomic critiques they offer.
Cirio’s artworks have been presented and exhibited in major art institutions, including Museum für Fotografie, Berlin, 2017; Haifa Museum of Art, 2017; ICP Museum, NYC, 2016; China Academy of Art, Hangzhou, 2015; Vancouver Art Gallery, 2015; Cenart, Mexico, 2015; Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2014; CCCB, Barcelona, 2013; MAK, Vienna, 2013; Museum of Modern Art, Rio de Janeiro, 2012; Ars Electronica, Linz, 2011; Courtauld Institute, London, 2009; Sydney Biennal, 2007 and NTT ICC, Tokyo, 2006.
He has won a number of awards, among others Golden Nica first prize at Ars Electronica and Transmediale second prize.
Alessandro Ludovico is a researcher, artist and chief editor of Neural magazine since 1993. He received his Ph.D. degree in English and Media from Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge (UK). He is Associate Professor at the Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton and Lecturer at Parsons Paris – The New School. He has published and edited several books, and has lectured worldwide. He also served as an advisor for the Documenta 12’s Magazine Project.