Paolo Cirio

Cirio_Caymans-Certificates_mod

Certificati di registrazione – Loophole4all project
Courtesy of Paolo Cirio


PAOLO CIRIO (Italy, 1979)

Loophole for All, 2013
Multimedia installation
Courtesy the artist

Stolen identities in real and virtual territories are superimposed on each other and become blurred in the works of Paolo Cirio, which always combine artistic action, digital hacking and political activism. Loophole for All denounces those mechanisms that enable large international companies to place their headquarters in tax havens where tax assessments become difficult. In the name of the globalization of markets, these companies bypass all controls of their own countries of origin, acquiring a sort of de-territorialization. Cirio unmasks these mechanisms by proposing a provocative act of civil disobedience: to make tax evasion on the Cayman Islands accessible to all. The artist has developed a system that takes advantage of this territorial dislocation. The project began with the creation of a limited liability company with headquarters in London, Paolo Cirio Ltd. Starting from this, Cirio created an online platform (Loophole4All.com) through which it is possible to trace, like with a regular search engine, the over 200,000 companies fiscally registered in the Cayman Islands, whose list was extracted from the website of the local Chamber of Commerce.
A user of Loophole4All.com can select a company and obtain, for just 99 cents, a certificate that enables the user to generate invoices in that company’s name. At a cost of $50, the user can also obtain his or her own post office box in the Caymans through which to receive invoices that, through the intermediary of another post office box in New York, are returned to the user’s real address in an anonymous manner. Playing on these kinds of tax “loopholes” that are not totally legal but also not pursuable in the name of the right to banking secrecy, and owing to the complex corporate structure of Paolo Cirio LTD, the artist, in his own words, pursues the goal of “democratizing the privileges of offshore businesses”, enabling anyone to assume the identity of a hedge fund or a well-known multinational company.
On his website, Cirio sells certificates bearing his signature as the proprietor of the company granting licenses. These documents become the physical and concrete result of his work, works that allow an ironic critique the notions of authorship and reproducibility of a work of art, but also of the system of attribution of its commercial value. The forced closure of the account associated with Cirio’s website by PayPal further amplified this type of reflections, leading the artist to opt for free concession of the license certificates that a user can select on the Loophole4All.com website and that are in distribution during the exhibition.
The work of Paolo Cirio, who always describes his projects as artistic acts, renders visible a complex and widespread system of fiscal interconnections in which the dividing lines between legality and illegality are blurred. The nation-state is no longer central with its geopolitical demarcation. It is the flow of data and information that has acquired transnational economic supremacy.

 

Paolo Cirio (1979, Italy; lives and works in London) works as a media artist in various fields: net-art, public-art, video-art, software-art and experimental fiction. Cirio has been part of the Italian net-art collective (epidemic) and he has collaborated with others pivotal figures of net-art like Bruce Sterling, Stewart Home and RTMark. He has won prestigious media art awards, his subversive works have been sustained by research grants and residencies, and he has exhibited in international museums and institutions worldwide. As public speaker he delivers lectures and workshops on tactics of media interventions. He has held solo shows at Aksioma Project Space Ljubljana in 2011 and at Kasa Gallery, Istanbul, in 2013. Recent exhibitions also include: (2010) IDEAS 10: Art and Digital Narrative, Emily Carr University, Vancouver; Rien de politique, Komplot gallery, Brussels; EuropeanDays, Co-production forum, Turin; Summercamp ElectrifiedTimeLab, Ghent; Hacking Public Space, Flashback section, S.M.A.K. and Vooruit, Ghent; (2011) UAMO festival, Ultra Social, Munich; Share festival, Turin; Ars Electronica Festival, Origin, Linz; Networked, Espacio Fundación Telefónica, Lima; Response: Ability, transmediale.11, Berlin; (2012) ArtFutura 2012, Museum of Modern Art of Rio de Janeiro; TEA/Collective Wisdom at National Fine arts Museum in Taichung, Taiwan; 7th Seoul International Media Art Biennale, Seoul; (2013) The Big Picture, Museum of Contemporary Art of Denver, Colorado; Symposium Technologies Social Innovation, Centre for Contemporary Art, Malaga; Cultural Hijack: Rethinking Intervention, Architectural Association, London; Not Exactly, RedLine gallery, Denver; Run Computer, Run, Rua Red Gallery, Dublin; Public Private, at Kellen Gallery of The New School, New York.



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