[In lieu of in-class presentation.]
Paulo Cirio is an Italian artist working in the online space and concerned with open systems, privacy and democracy.
Cirio works with legal, economic and semiotic systems of the information society. He investigates social fields impacted by the Internet, such as privacy, copyright, politics and finance. Cirio presents his research and intervention-based works through artefacts, photos, installations, videos, and public art.
Three of his works are currently at the Ars Electronica Centre in Linz, Austria – Loophole For All, Persecuting US, and (W)orld Currency.
In Loophole for All, Cirio explored and attempted to undermine the idea of having a company “on paper” in countries considered financial offshore centres. The artist unveiled over 200,000 Cayman Islands companies and reversed global finance machinations. The website Loophole4All.com promoted the sale of real identities of anonymous Cayman companies at low cost to democratise the privileges of offshore businesses by forging Certificates of Incorporation documents for each company, all issued with the artist’s real name and signature.
This performance generated international media attention, engaged an active audience and drew outrage from authorities on the Cayman Islands, international law and accounting firms, PayPal, and real owners of the companies. Further, the artist interviewed major experts and produced a video documentary investigating offshore centres to expose their social costs and to envision solutions to global economic inequality. In the offline art installation, the paper trail of the project is displayed with prints of the counterfeited Certificates of Incorporation and the documents of the scheme set up for the operation.