Socially Engaged Internet Art: The Aesthetics of Information Ethics with Paolo Cirio

Society has become deeply affected by advanced distribution systems of information. The fields of law, economics, and politics are increasingly interconnected, while social norms, relationships, and identities shift at a rapid pace. In this context, examining art from a social perspective means working with a multiplicity of social systems and processes that the Internet activates. Artist, activist, and cultural critic Paolo Cirio discusses how socially engaged Internet art can maximize both social and artistic efficacy by distinguishing the qualities, means, and ends of generating reactions from audiences and subjects.

Paolo Cirio’s art embodies the conflicts, contradictions, ethics, limits, and potentials inherent to the social complexity of information society through a critical and proactive approach. His artworks engage power structures, global mass media, and the general public in Internet art performances that examine contemporary social, political, and economic processes. As a result of his performances, Cirio has been subject to investigations and legal and personal threats by governmental and military authorities, powerful multinationals, global banks, and law firms, as well as crowds of ordinary people. Cirio has exhibited in museums and institutions worldwide and has won numerous awards, including prizes at Ars Electronica and Transmediale and the Eyebeam Fellowship, among others.

Participating units at UC Berkeley: Berkeley Center for New Media; Arts, Technology and Culture Colloquia.