The installation The Empty Quarter -Rub’ al Khali investigates the complicity of avowedly democratic governments in human rights abuses in the UAE.

Sand graffiti on felt (240 x 180 cm), double-screen pointcloud animation video (digital file, 10 min), single-screen video (digital file, 13min)

The undercover video Linking Arms in Repression documents a UK Parliamentary Seminar exploring UK-UAE bilateral trade, with particular focus on BAE Systems’ sale of cyber surveillance technology to the Emirati regime for use on its own citizens. Called up as a witness, Manu Luksch presented an interview she filmed with Ahmed Mansoor – the key human rights defender in the UAE, a victim of state surveillance, and currently prisoner of conscience.

From sand to glass to silicon – the United Arab Emirates adumbrates a fantasy frontier of algorithmic dreams, of smart cities and a frictionless economy servicing peak experience. It is believed that the Emirates rose from the desert almost fully formed, weightless, its super tall buildings limning the height of our desires.

The video CODE/CITY uses techniques of computational photography to capture the headquarters of Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s global showcase for urban smart technology and soft architecture. An evolving 3D future is extrapolated from a mass of ordinary photographs, reflecting the way that our destinies are predicted and constructed through the extraction and analysis of mass personal data.

On an adjacent red plinth, Ahmed Mansoor’s face emerges out of the shifting sands of the Emirati Desert, the portrait’s ephemerality calling attention to his precarious circumstances – and for the protection of human rights to be a prerequisite for trade deals.

HYBRID LANDSCAPES, DIGITAL CATAPULT, London until Sept 2019. for a tweet and symbol for the fight for freedom of speech in the information age.
Data Loam, AIL, Vienna. Until 8th March 2019

_Credits CODE/CITY by  Manu Luksch ©2017     IMMERSIVE FX Jack Wolf   PROGRAMMING  Federico Foderaro    supported by denkbar projektentwicklungs gmbh
photos Data Loam: ©Marc Orou 2019