art projects

James Coupe
Born 1975, Blackpool, UK
Lives/Works in Seattle, USA + London, UK

“In his recent work, British-born, Seattle-based artist James Coupe examines the power and meaning of surveillance in our everyday life by working with advanced surveillance technologies, including high definition video cameras, facial recognition software, and computer algorithms derived from popular search engines and social media sites. Coupe works in new media but his artistic practice is anchored in an engagement with older media– namely, cinema, literature, and, most recently, the panorama. Situated at the intersection of the virtual, the fictional, and the real, Coupe’s work examines the ways that contemporary surveillance society simultaneously foregrounds self-observation and mutual observation, and thus mobilizes the classic scopophilic dialectic of voyeurism and exhibitionism. But, rather than subjecting surveillance to a systematic ideological critique, Coupe’s interests lie in the way surveillance provides a theme and metaphor for exploring the paradoxes of the postmodern human condition.[1]”

James Coupe is a Seattle-based artist who works with video, installation, internet, and emerging media forms. His work includes real-time public surveillance systems, interactive deepfake installations, and collaborations with Amazon Mechanical Turk micro-laborers. Reflecting on the impact of Big Data, immaterial labor and AI, Coupe’s art works explore searches, queries, automation, classification systems, the use of algorithmic narratives, surplus value and human affect. He is Head of Photography and Professor of Art and Experimental Media at the Royal College of Art in London.

Notable projects include “Sanctum” (2013), an interactive public artwork exhibited for two years on the facade of the Henry Art Gallery; his Creative Capital project, “Swarm” (2013), which was exhibited at both ZKM and The Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art / Toronto International Film Festival, and received an Honorable Mention for Interactive Art at the Prix Ars Electronica; “General Intellect” (2015), exhibited at Aktionsart, and which received the HeK Award for net-based art; “Watchtower”, exhibited at FACT, and recipient of the Surveillance Studies Network Arts Fund Award; and “Warriors”, which was the inaugural exhibition at the new International Center of Photography (ICP) museum in New York City.