I Never Went

The death of anonymity. A carnival turned a mourning

Nora Silva, Cristina Vasilescu

14/09/2018 20:00

Tranzit / Gazelei 44, Bucharest, Romania

The human’s most primal impulse and the one that has shaped our species is our anxiety to foresee. Humans turned into farmers a few thousand years ago not because they would be best nourished[1], but because they could anticipate their dinner. This hunger to know has reached a peak: we now know everything. And not because we are constantly interrogated but actually because we update our data on a daily basis. As Foucault suggested[2], the most efficient manipulation is the one in which individuals learn to discipline themselves.

As we cruise through voluntary algorithmic governance, we acknowledge that privacy is then a thing of the past. It has ceased to be a choice but a lost cause, somehow nostalgic. In a similar way to the loss of the exotic, we have now been deprived of privacy. Covered in data like a suffocating duvet, I propose a carnival. The carnival as the festivity in which the loss of identity is celebrated, a commemoration where everyone is famous and no one is.

Carnival is a reversal ritual, in which social roles are reversed and norms about desired behavior are suspended. Hierarchies are flattened and identity is blurred. However, how do we effectively blur identity under global surveillance? What might this look like? How may we manufacture a new tradition? Can we install a tradition?


[1] In fact a farmer’s diet was significantly poorer in nutrients and consequently much less healthy than that of a gatherer/hunter.

[2] In his book Discipline and Punish Foucault argues that the ultimate tool for control is making the subject believe in discipline as if it was his/her own decision.


Nora Silva

Nora Silva is a Spanish artist based in London. She graduated from the Royal College of Art in July 2017, and recent solo shows include Hear Me Whisk at Lajuan gallery in Madrid, and Your Friendly Local, at Chalton Gallery in London. Nora manufactures contexts and builds sculptural installations as a fiction from where to address political issues. She also co-directs The Gramounce, an exhibition supper club, and MilesKm, an arts collective for the research of collaborative practices within the arts.

Cristina Vasilescu

Cristina Vasilescu is a curator based in London. She co-runs clearview, a contemporary art project with its base in North-London. Forthcoming curated project around notions of privacy and technologies with artists Ami Clarke, Nilz Kallgren and Nora Silva is presented part of ODD, Bucharest series P R I V A T E L Y. Other recent projects: What’s love got to do with it? (roundtable discussion curated part of In formation III at the ICA, London, 2018), Public Marketplace (collective project part of Art Night, London, 2018), Is this the end? (collective project part of ICA, London, 2017), Turn The Tide (collaborative project part of RCA, Dyson Gallery London, 2017), remapping bodies (solo exhibition with artist Vlad Brateanu, tranzit.ro, Bucharest, 2016).

She contributed to Temporary Art Review and Baltic Triennial 13 – Give up the Ghost Catalogue. She holds an MA in Curating Contemporary Art from the Royal College of Art in London (2017) and a BA in Social and Cultural Studies from Goldsmiths College, University of London (2014).