In Monitor Man, Yassine Khaled creates an embodiment of virtual communication in public space. The artist wears a helmet affixed with an iPad, which offers a real-time connection to a person outside of Europe and the Western world. Through the use of technology and his own body, Khaled uses the performance to transgress actual, national borders which separate people. The performance is an opportunity for people to meet with someone who is physically far away and restricted in their freedom of movement. Monitor Man was inspired by the refugee crisis and how it is unfolding in relation to the internet, social media, and the omnipresence of technology. The project began on the streets of Helsinki in 2016, but is ongoing, as the artist presents the work in different locations around the Western world.
In 2020, Yassine came up with an idea of a new version of Monitor Man -film which would reflect the current situation of our global society. At the core of the project lies an interest in transgressing national and physical borders by using the Monitor Man -concept in the time of global corona pandemic, while enabling new kinds of interactions across virtual meeting points. The time of lockdown was exceptional and challenging for people around the world, so technology became one of the only tools to be connected with families, friends etc. That made Yassine think about this version, which has conversations with six people from three continents. The short film of Monitor Man in the Time of Pandemic explores the global political crisis from the time of COVID-19 to the social instabilities and movements in the Western world.
Monitor Man -performance and short films have been presented at the following: Together Alone -program screened on Musiikkitalo (2020), Criatek, Digital Creativity & Technology Festival, Aveiro, Portugal (2019) Stuttgarter Filmwinter (2019), Germany, Digital Weekender Festival (2018), Watermans Arts Centre, London, CyberArts 2018 – Prix Ars Electronica, OK Center for Contemporary Art, Linz, Austria, SALTS (2017-2018), Birsfelden, Switzerland, Research Pavilion (2017), related to 57th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy, CHART Art Fair (2017), Copenhagen, Denmark, curated by Helga Christoffersen, Supermarket Art Fair (2017) Stockholm, Sweden, Arabia Street Art Festival (2017), Helsinki and Baltic Circle, International Theatre Festival (2016), Helsinki, Finland.
Directing, script and producing: Yassine Khaled
Cinematography and editing: Elina Oikari
Composing and sound design: Jyri Pirinen
The piece is funded by Finnish Cultural and Academic Institutes.
Watch Monitor Man in the Time of Pandemic trailer here.
Yassine Khaled (1988) is a visual artist based in Helsinki. His work focus on digital communication, freedom of movement and societal power relations. Khaled aims to visualize virtual communication and an individual’s experiences about comfort and insecurity. Khaled’s Monitor Man received an Honorary Mention at Prix Ars Electronica 2018, Austria.