Paolo Cirio. Artist's statement. 2022.
Paolo Cirio investigates and intervenes in social, economic, and cultural issues. His work broaches social areas impacted by technology, media, politics, and economics in order to address human rights, economic inequality, social justice, and democracy through creative journalism and activism promoting new public policies.
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Cirio's art embodies the ethics, conflicts, and possibilities concerning the social complexity of global society, using a critical and proactive approach. Employing a range of formats and strategies, including hacking, public interventions, institutional critique, activism, utopia, essay, documentary, and appropriation, Cirio’s work fosters public engagement, collective action, and critical thinking.
His art making and writing integrates aesthetics and political theory, media ecology, cultural politics, knowledge economy, jurisprudential studies, financial analysis, and technological scrutiny. In particular, Cirio has researched Internet privacy and surveillance, artificial intelligence, climate change, high finance, intellectual property, and militarism.
Aiming at creating and inspiring change, response, and inquiry through art that is engaging, subversive, and informative, Cirio’s works are social agents probing into and interacting with subject matters and their corresponding systems.
His works often foster agency, going beyond mere representation. He elicits social innovation through his creative proposals and campaigns for regulations and public policies in the specific fields he examines. Using a journalistic, scientific, and analytical approach, Cirio investigates and exposes data, systems, facts, and documents regarding urgent contemporary issues. The evidence he finds, assembles, and presents is an integral part of his work, and forms the basis of his creative regulatory solutions in which he invites everyone to take part in encouraging citizens’ agency.
Paolo Cirio’s investigation of evidence and sensitive information employs his techniques of exposure, appropriation, and recontextualization. Then, Cirio uses this material with appealing language, visuals, irony, interventions, artifacts, and concepts to engage a wider public in works of art that aim to make contradictions visible, expose mechanisms, and debunk their processes.
Paolo Cirio artworks are also often confrontational actions - they elicit reactions from the subjects of the projects and spark audience participation. The interactions and processes from his interventions generate online art performances. These socially engaged performances involve the public in critical debates on change, driven directly by his artistic concepts and creations, which often involve personal risk and challenge.
His artistic research strives to expand the definition of contemporary art to include unconventional practices, inquiries, and public participation. His aesthetic compositions are highly conceptual with layered and interconnected meanings, functions, and agents presented as a complete, closed referential system of interrelated ideas and actions.
Paolo Cirio presents his research and intervention-based works through installations, photography, and public art both offline and online.
Cirio's art installations translate the gathering, processing, and dissemination of sensitive information into visual forms for exhibition settings. Within these displays, Cirio's work shows and documents multilayered concepts, public art interventions, or ethereal time-based online performances. With prints, videos, and custom artifacts, the installations crystallize ideas, reactions, and contexts of the works taken from their original setting, and transformed into a formal mode of presentation.
Cirio's art renders critiques of information systems into artifacts to visually illustrate and document social structures and aesthetic relations integrated in his work. Cirio's installations combine images, photographs, diagrams, texts, documents, artifacts, and videos to engage the audience in experiencing and discovering the subjects, outcomes of the work, and the significance of his interventions and concepts.