a photographic survey of an emergent cybernetic landscape
Shot in a variety of locations– ranging from the political spectacle of Washington D.C. to the National Radio Quiet Zone in rural West Virginia– Wilderness of Mirrors visualizes contemporary mechanisms of control that employ technology, anxiety, and images as a means to destabilize and restructure belief.
Through diverse modes of image-making, the sequence unveils discrete social and technological systems which are embedded into the fabric of everyday life and serve to reinforce and advance dominant structures of capital and power.
The series presents these conditions as a veritable wilderness– a landscape of images and devices that infinitely deflects, replicates, and distorts any information within its borders. These devices fuel a hyper-partisan fervor and virulent strains of misinformation, all against a backdrop of psychographic advertising and domestic mass-surveillance.
By guiding the viewer through these absurd surfaces and circumstances, the images allude to the ways our perception is quietly directed and managed via algorithm to the benefit of corporate interests and intelligence organizations.
Ultimately, Wilderness of Mirrors aspires to locate the intersections of simulation, power, and concealment in order to disentangle the mesh of our personal, political and digital selves; it describes an urgent need to reclaim the agency we have lost to convenience and abstraction. The work seeks to question default realities and reframe our relationship to this digital landscape, before it is completely determined for us.
Chase Barnes is a photographer and designer based in Philadelphia, US where he makes books, photographs and videos that examine the human condition within the contemporary digital landscape. In 2016 he graduated from the University of Missouri with a BFA followed by a MFA in 2018 from the Rhode Island School of Design.
His projects have been recently exhibited at the Format Festival in Derby, UK; Soft Power Palace Festival in Berlin; Gehlman Gallery. Providence, USA; ClampArt in New York, USA and Krakow Photomonth in 2016. They have been recently published in Der Grief Magazine and on booooooom.
“Wilderness of Mirrors prompts consideration of the insulated world of the privileged elite, and the ways social media acts as an echo chamber which only reflects people’s own image back to them.The dominant voice is comfortably insulated within a hall of mirrors – we turn our backs to the uncomfortable truths happening right under our noses.” – Lexx Saint Leonard
“In Wilderness of Mirrors, Chase Barnes looks to classify the circumstances that have enabled dominant power structures to destabilise our perception of reality through the subtle application of everyday technologies and visual devices.” – PHMuseum Feature