Information of Note is composed of text and photographs extracted from the records of the NYPD Demographics Unit, which profiled Muslim-owned or affiliated businesses, gathering places, and sites of worship. Each entry includes a photograph of a venue’s exterior, its name, address, and phone number, and the ethnicity of the owners. Many of the observations are quite banal—together they paint an unremarkable portrait of quotidian life. The NYPD Demographics Unit program “never generated a lead,” according to the Associated Press. These surveillance programs were secret until a large number of internal NYPD documents were leaked to the press in 2011.
Information of Note presents evidence of secret surveillance programs marked by social bias and racial profiling. The work explores the gathering of information by state power structures and those who scrutinize them. The evidentiary dataset has a nonlinear form, taking shape from metadata, searches, and indexing. Combining the photographic medium with processing data, the work composes a collage reminiscent of surveillance software interfaces and a present surveilling eye.
Read The Eye of the Law by Nijah Cunningham.
Composite image, C-Print. 40 x 40 in. 101,5 x 101,5 cm.
Courtesy of Robert Koch Gallery.