Mirror PVA Formation, Shadow Cube Division, 2019

Constant Dullaart
Mirror PVA Formation, Shadow Cube Division, 2019
From ‘PVA Composition’, 2015–ongoing
Sim cards, stainless steel, nickel, oak, VESA mount; 70 x 100 cm
Installation view: Art in the Age of Anxiety, Sharjah Art Foundation, 2020
Courtesy of Upstream Gallery, Amsterdam
Photo: Danko Stjepanovic


Constant Dullaart’s conceptual work, which manifests itself on the internet, in public spaces and offline, includes websites, performances, installations and manipulated found images that aim to visualise the vernacular of the internet. Often relying on subversions and pranks, Dullaart’s work is full of humour and wit, mercilessly laying bare the sore points of computerised society. He examines the boundaries affecting the manipulation of search engines and social media platforms, altering the user’s access and implementing a political approach that critiques the corporate systems influencing contemporary semantics and the way we perceive the world. 

Mirror PVA Formation, Shadow Cube Division is part of a series that is a physical extension of Dullaart’s durational performance The Possibility of an Army at Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt (2015). In this work, he critically explored the concept of digital identity by creating a fake army to stand up in the war against the current American social media revolution and what he believes is a false validation system based on the number of followers. In an effort to deconstruct the use of fake profiles and the fake economy that results, he assembled an army from thousands of fake profiles on Facebook, for which the artist used the names of the original Hessian mercenaries hired by the British to fight in the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783). The fake accounts were registered on phone numbers bought in bulk in multiple countries, and the accompanying SIM cards were by-products of companies offering PVAs (Phone Verified Accounts) as a way to create multiple user accounts and, sometimes, new identities. The artist then created visual compositions out of the purchased SIM cards, which serve as a placeholder for the inherent value of identity as a commodity. These frozen choreographies, featuring physical remnants of artificial identities, represent further standing armies in the ongoing and future information wars that will be fought with automated cultural output.

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