BUFFALO, N.Y. –Alessandra Renzi is a media artist who
explores how governments and corporations use social media to
surveil and police citizens for reasons often unknown to the
citizens themselves. For some of these artists, including Renzi,
exposure of such surveillance is more than an academic exercise. It
aims to promote political participation.
On April 21 Renzi will be the guest of the University at Buffalo
Department of Media Study (DMS) and the UB Gender Institute when
she presents a free public talk about her work at 6:30 p.m. in the
Screening Room, 112 Center for the Arts, UB North Campus.
This talk is part of the Plasma series inaugurated this year by
the DMS to present performances, lectures and screenings of media
art. The presentation will be streamed live the night of the event
Renzi is an assistant
professor in emergent media in the Program in Media and Screen
Studies in the Northeastern University Department of Art and
Her work explores and exposes links among social media, art and
activism using ethnographic studies and media art projects. A
particular interest of hers is how social media platforms affect
notions and practices of participation and collaboration.
These interests have led her to be part of, and study, pirate
television networks in Italy, and to investigate the surveillance
of social movements in Canada.
She is the author, with Greg Elmer of Ryerson University in
Toronto, of “Infrastructure Critical: Sacrifice at
Toronto’s G8/G20 Summit” (2012), which examines
civil rights and the role of social media in the 2010 summit.
Specifically, it looks at how Canada’s Conservative
government funneled its summit stimulus package into
“infrastructure” projects aimed at policing Canadians
protesting the political, environmental and social positions taken
by summit participants.
As part of her past research on surveillance and dissent she
co-produced the documentary “Preempting Dissent: Policing the
Crisis,” a collaborative, open source project incorporating
footage crowd-sourced through media activist networks.
She also is the co-creator of “Activism beyond the
Interface: The Sandbox Project,” an art activist or
“artivist” project that considers the intersection of
face-to-face and human/computer interface interactions.