THE MAN WITH THE MASKS
by Klaus Rothstein
Weekenddavisen 17. of June 2016
After the sorrow and the shock after the Orlando nightclub shootings this sunday, you are left with a nasty sensation: We have become used to terrorism. We quickly move on.
And then — perhaps not: The terrorists makes us accept more and more anti-open relations between governments and citizens. The extreme become normal. It is within this paradox that Danish artist Jakob S. Boeskov situates his peculiar political action art, an art that takes places on trade fairs for the arms- and surveillance industries.
It started in Beijing in 2002, where he performed as an undercover arms developer with the weapon ID Sniper, a weapon developed to control demonstrators.
With this weapon authorities could — from a distance — shoot microchips into the bodies of political opponents and then track them via GPS. The weapon was of great interest to many arms manufacturers and Chinese authorities.
The story about the ID Sniper was published last fall as a book and now comes the second part of Jakob S. Boeskov’spre-crime triptych. This time it is about a journey to a surveillance fair in California, where he presented a biometric identity simulator designed for preventive warfare against terrorists from ISIS.
The visionary idea can be described like this: Authorities can hack the identities of terrorists so that terrorists attack themselves and not us — Face Jagger is the name of this weapon.
The method is no less a stroke of genius: We get a photograph of a terrorist. From this we create a 3D printed mask of the face of the terrorist. With this 3D face mask the best directors (from Hollywood)! can create small bits of footage, where the terrorist is seen in incriminating situations, for example in contact with western intelligence agencies. These snippets of footage will be leaked via social media, and when the allies of the terrorists sees the footage, an internal system of justice will take care of the rest. In this way our enemies will cut the heads of themselves, instead of us.
Jakob S. Boeskov describes his development of fictitious weapons as The Artefact Method and the following rules apply: A product from the future will be presented at a real arms fair, not an art show, by the artist himself, who will pretend to be an arms developer. When the piece later on will be presented in a gallery context, it will be accompanied by a documentation of the original presentation. The last part in Jakob S. Boeskov’s pre-crime triptych, which takes it’sstarting point in Philip K. Dicks notions of pre-crime from 1956, will take place in Europe in 2017.
The political, dissident irony speaks volumes in Jakob S. Boeskov laconic descriptions from the surveillance fair in California. There is a fundamental element of masquerade and Jakob S. Boeskov is in more than one way the man with the masks. But what is most shocking? That he under false premises could trick his way into the security industries own arms trade fair — or that both developers and producers and authorities were interested in his concept and his 3D printed terrorist face masks?