Artist lectures on Thursday at McDonough

Hasan Elahi is an interdisciplinary artist who has even appeared on the Colbert Report. He will be lecturing at YSU in the McDonough Museum of Art.

Hasan Elahi

Hasan Elahi, an associate professor of art at the University of Maryland whose tussle with the federal government brought him national attention, will lecture 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 2, in the McDonough Museum of Art on the campus of Youngstown State University.

The free lecture is sponsored by the YSU Department of Art.

Elahi is an interdisciplinary artist whose work examines issues of surveillance, simulated time, transport systems, borders and frontiers. His work has been presented in numerous exhibitions at venues such as SITE Santa Fe, Centre Georges Pompidou, Sundance Film Festival, Kassel Kulturbahnhof, The Hermitage, and at the Venice Biennale. He was recently invited to speak about his work at the Tate Modern, Einstein Forum, the American Association of Artificial Intelligence, and at TEDGlobal.

His awards include grants from the Creative Capital Foundation, a Ford Foundation/Phillip Morris National Fellowship, and an artist grant from the Asociacion Artetik Berrikuntzara in Donostia-San Sebastian, Spain. His work is frequently in the media and has been covered by The New York Times, Forbes, Wired, CNN, ABC, CBS, NPR, Al Jazeera, Fox, and he has appeared on The Colbert Report. At the University of Maryland, he is Director of Digital Cultures and Creativity in the Honors College. He was a 2010 Alpert/MacDowell Fellow and in 2009 was Resident Faculty at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture.

In 2002, Elahi’s name was mistakenly added to the federal government’s watch list. He was detained in Detroit after a flight from the Netherlands, suspected of hoarding explosives in a Florida locker. Lie detector tests subsequently cleared him. He decided, however, “to turn the tables and cooperate ­ with a vengeance,” according to Wired magazine. The process grew into an art project as Elahi began posting photos of his minute-by-minute life – hotel rooms, train stations, airports, meals, beds, receipts, even toilets ­ generating tens of thousands of images in the last several years and proving “his point that the best way to protect privacy is to give it away,” Wired reported. He says: “By putting everything about me out there, I am simultaneously telling everything and nothing about my life.”

The bizarre circumstances landed him on the Colbert Report. View it at