SALISBURY, MD---What happens when an artist becomes art himself?
That’s the question Salisbury University explores with the exhibit “Hasan Elahi: Tracking Transience,” the inaugural display in the Electronic Gallery, located in the Teacher Education and Technology Center. The exhibit runs September 4-October 1.
In 2002, Elahi was detained at Detroit Metropolitan Airport following a flight from Belgium. It was there he discovered he had accidentally been placed on an FBI watch list. Logging an average 70,000 miles per year aboard airplanes, traveling between galleries exhibiting his work, the Bangladeshi-born American saw this mistake as a potential threat to his livelihood.
In response, he created a 24-hour in-house surveillance Web site, www.elahi.org, and welcomed authorities to track his every move. In addition, he posts copies of his debit card transactions online so agents can see what he bought and when and where he made the purchase, while a pocket-sized global positioning system tracks his physical location on a map.
His “perfect alibi” has since turned into a years-long performance art piece with highlights exhibited at the Sundance Film Festival; The Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia; and the Pace Digital Gallery in New York, among others. He has appeared on TV shows and in magazines throughout the United States, including CNN, ABC World News, The New York Times Magazine and The Colbert Report.
Six years after the project began, Elahi’s Web site has received hits from the Pentagon, the Secretary of Defense Office and the Executive Office of the President. He no longer gets stopped at U.S. airports; he calls the FBI in advance and lets them know he’s coming.
Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free and the public is invited. For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit www.salisbury.edu.