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Information Power to the People, 2017


Computer genius, programming prodigy, and information activist, Aaron Swartz (1986–2013), was just fourteen when he developed the RSS (Really Simple Syndication) software. At fifteen he helped Internet law specialist Lawrence Lessig to develop the code for Creative Commons, and at nineteen he co-developed the social-networking site Reddit. Taking leave from Reddit at twenty, Swartz sought to protect freedom of information within the Internet, investing himself in political activism. This direction led to his arrest in 2011, on account of downloading millions of articles from the aca- demic research database Jstor. Swartz committed suicide in the midst of his prosecution. His case raised questions of authorship, owner- ship and: is downloading necessarily theft? When Anonymous hacked the State Department website of the US government on February 17th 2013, they declared “Aaron Swartz this is for you”. Öğüt’s Information Power to the People shows a bust of Aaron Swartz suspended above a classical plinth. Held by a crane, Swartz is frozen ambiguously between the moment of the bust’s placement or removal.

Ahmet Öğüt, Information Power to the People, 2017, Bronze cast

Bronze cast

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Ahmet Öğüt

Ahmet Öğüt, born in 1981 in Diyarbakır, works across a variety of different media often picking up on an urban environment. With an eye for daily encounters and moments of improvisation his works address topics such as structural inequality, state suppression, censorship and forms of resistance. Singular acts of non alignment or collective struggles against militarized powers equally tend to inspire the aesthetic and thematic reflections that occur in Ahmet Öğüt's work just as the way he operates in the institutional ecology surrounding his practice. He had solo shows among others at Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (2015), Chisenhale Gallery, London (2015), Künstlerhaus Stuttgart (2012), Kunsthalle Lissabon (2011) and SALT Beyoglu, Istanbul (2011). He has participated in group shows such as the 11th Gwangju Biennale (2016), Manifesta 11 (2016), “Museum On/OFF” at Centre Pompidou, Paris (2016), the 13th Biennale de Lyon (2015), “Political Populism” at Kunsthalle Wien, the Kyiv Biennial (2015) and many more.

Full Biography