DeepTime Decryption / Sam Lavigne (2017)
Encryption is the process of making something hidden or obscure. It is the process of entombing, of putting out-of-sight, of passing an experience or an idea from utterable and conscious to garbled and subconscious. In this sense, encryption serves as a useful metaphor to describe the production of ideology: the entombment of thought is belief.
Lavigne’s work often uses the tools of natural language processing to ask us to rethink our personal and societal relations with automation, surveillance, and police control. In this piece artist Sam Lavigne takes a video produced by U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and slowly renders it unintelligible. The original video is a guide to the US naturalisation process, offering viewers a series of practice questions for the citizenship test. Lavigne begins by isolating phonemes (or word sounds) in the video, and then slowly sorting and interchanging them until the original becomes multi-voiced, garbled and obscure.