Don’t Be Evil
30 July 2021 – 22 January 2022

Artists: Zach Blas & Jemima Wyman, Kate Crawford & Vladan Joler, Simon Denny, Xanthe Dobbie, Sean Dockray, Forensic Architecture, Kate Geck, Elisa Giardina Papa, Matthew Griffin, Eugenia Lim, Daniel McKewen, Angela Tiatia, Suzanne Treister, and Katie Vida.

The endlessly popular yet flawed metaphor of ‘the Cloud’ has become an effective marketing term that muddies and mystifies the largest surveillance system we have ever known—the Internet. This system has been described as the Data Industrial Complex—a machination that extracts, trades, matches and sells our personal information through every click, ‘like’ and online interaction. The conveniences that we consume are exchanged for our unpaid labour, as we undertake the ‘work’ of being watched.

This exhibition seeks to materialise the invisible power structures operating beneath the surface of networked technologies: complex interfaces of bodies and data that are propelled through satellites, fibre optic cables and server farms into machine learning initiatives and tradable futures. The exhibition correlates the extractive infrastructures that continue settler-colonial legacies through the mining of data, human labour and finite resources.

Image: Eugenia Lim, "ON DEMAND", 2019. Installation view, "Don't Be Evil", UQ Art Museum, 2021. Photo: Joe Ruckli.

Lifted from Google’s original corporate motto before it was insidiously removed in 2015, Don’t Be Evil considers the all-pervasiveness of networked technologies on our everyday lives. With a focus on the techno-politics that define our age, the participating artists investigate how the Internet has reshaped social relations and information flows, capitalism and democracy, through forces that we as individuals have very little control over.

Featuring Australian and international artists, this major group exhibition encompasses new commissions and existing projects. Referencing and materialising the Internet and its contents, interactive installations and screen-based works meet experiments in Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality that require embodiment. Together, these artworks reinforce the inseparable entanglement of our online and offline lives. 

Don’t Be Evil is the second iteration of the Conflict in My Outlook series, preceded by the web-based exhibition We Met Online, viewable HERE.

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Read a Q&A with Curator Anna Briers

Learn about our cultural mediation program

Xanthe Dobbie
Cloud Copy (detail), 2020
virtual reality installation
Installation view
Courtesy of the artist

Photo: Louis Lim

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