Other shots are perfectly benign. One image shows two young bathers in a public stream—with no nefarious government presence visible. But after noticing some of the other darker images, even these innocuous ones take on a more somber tone. In fact, I found the show bled into my own mental space—perhaps an indication of how much news of government spying, terrorists threats and shootings now permeate the media. When I left the gallery I ended up checking my bag several times due to various phone related phobias. Did I accidentally phone someone? Wait, is my phone in my bag? Did someone take my phone? I don’t usually worry about any of those things when I leave a near empty gallery—or anywhere else for that matter—but somehow the show left me feeling a little vulnerable.
I can’t say that was a pleasant, but I’m glad I experienced it for a moment. I felt just a little more aware, too, which offered some small amount of cold comfort.