If one were to list the most important social topics facing those of us in the U.S., immigration and surveillance would certainly top the list. As these debates continue to heat up, artists have responded in kind. One such artist is designer Blazo Kovacevic, himself an immigrant from Podgorica, Montenegro, and a professor of art and design at Binghamton University (SUNY). Since 2007 he has been exploring these topics through myriad projects and protest art, with titles such as “Probe,” “Sightliness,” “Case” and “In Context.”
His latest, “Incited,” was displayed at the Dowd gallery, SUNY Cortland this past December. In the exhibit, Kovacevic explores the devaluation of illegal immigrants, forced into inhuman conditions and abstraction. Through the use of virtual reality, 3D modeling and time-lapse technology, it centers on those crossing the border as non-persons, with a complete disregard for them as individuals.
The later is addressed in his earlier works, as it affects us all. What is the cost we as a society are willing to pay for our safety versus our individual rights and liberties? Have we already succumbed to the end of privacy, exemplified by today’s commonplace airport security inspections through body scans and X-rays of our suitcases and bags?
“In Context,” 2015
In a twist on the above, Kovacevic also returns our individuality to us through the very use of this invasive technology. We are, after all, what we carry.
Blazo is currently working on a video that fully immerses the audience in a 360-degree view inside of a van trafficking illegal immigrants, to afford us the experience of being one of the those transported as cargo. This is based on an actual event in Serbia in 2015, where a van carrying immigrants crashed, injuring 40, several in critical condition.
Kovacevic’s work is in permanent collections, including the Library of Congress and the Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, GA.