Monitor Man in the Time of Pandemic

Yassine Khaled


In Monitor Man, Yassine Khaled creates an embodiment of virtual communication in public space. The artist wears a helmet affixed with an iPad, which offers a real-time connection to a person outside of Europe and the Western world. Through the use of technology and his own body, Khaled uses the performance to transgress actual, national borders which separate people. The performance is an opportunity for people to meet with someone who is physically far away and restricted in their freedom of movement. Monitor Man was inspired by the current refugee crisis and how it is unfolding in relation to the internet, social media, and the omnipresence of technology. The project began on the streets of Helsinki in 2016, but is ongoing, as the artist presents the work in different locations around the Western world.

At the core of the project lies an interest in transgressing national and physical borders by using the Monitor Man -concept in the time of global corona pandemic, while enabling new kinds of interactions across virtual meeting points. In the year 2020, Yassine came up with an idea of a new version of Monitor Man -film which would reflect the current situation of our global society. The time of lockdown was exceptional and challenging for people around the world, so technology became one of the only tools to be connected with families, friends etc. That made Yassine think about this version, which has conversations with six people from three contents. The film of “Monitor Man in the Time of Pandemic” explores the global political crisis from the time of COVID-19 to the social instabilities and movements in the Western world.

Monitor Man -performance and the previous films have been presented at the following: Together Alone project screen on Musiikkitalo (2020), Criatek, Digital Creativity & Technology Festival, Aveiro, Portugal (2019) Stuttgarter Filmwinter (2019), Germany, Digital Weekender Festival (2018), Watermans Arts Centre, London, CyberArts 2018 - Prix Ars Electronica, OK Center for Contemporary Art, Linz, Austria, SALTS (2017-2018), Birsfelden, Switzerland, Research Pavilion (2017), related to 57th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy, CHART Art Fair (2017), Copenhagen, Denmark, curated by Helga Christoffersen, Supermarket Art Fair (2017) Stockholm, Sweden, Arabia Street Art Festival (2017), Helsinki and Baltic Circle, International Theatre Festival (2016), Helsinki, Finland.

About the artist:

Yassine Khaled is a Moroccan visual artist based in Helsinki. His sculptures, installations, performances, paintings, and videos focus on the disparity between the power and wealth of some, and the powerlessness and poverty of others in our globalized world. Yassine is specialized in visualizing power relations between individuals caused by, for instance, ever-increasing gaps in wealth, socio-cultural differences, labor conditions, educational opportunities — the conditions that determine one’s level of comfort and stability in society. Yassine was born, raised, and received his artistic training in Morocco and currently lives and works in Helsinki; this geographic and cultural shift has had an evident impact on his work. Yassine has been the Honorary Mention at Prix Ars Electronica (Linz, Austria, 2018) for his long-term project Monitor Man and the 2nd Prize for Artist of the New Generation, Morocco in 2014.

Khaled's works have been represented internationally in galleries, art fairs and biennales including: Together Alone project screen on Musikkintalo, Helsinki (2020), Criatek, Digital Creativity & Technology Festival, Aveiro, Portugal (2019), Expanded Media -exhibition at Stuttgarter Filmwinter Festival, Stuttgart, Germany (2019), Prix Ars Electronica, OK Center for Contemporary Art, Linz, Austria (2018), SALTS Group Exhibition, Birsfelden, Switzerland (2017-2018), Chart Art Fair (2017), Copenhagen, Denmark, Haihara Art Centre, Tampere, Finland (2017), SUPERMARKET Art Fair, Stockholm (2017), Art Fair Suomi, Helsinki (2017), CMOOA -Collection’s Auction, Palace Es Saadi, Marrakech (2016), Exhibition Laboratory, Helsinki (2016-2017), 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair, London (2015), GVCC, Casablanca (2012-2017) and ”Luxures”, RonchauxRoom, Besançon, France (2014), Biennale OFF 4 Marrakech (2012) and Contemporary Art Fair of Africa and the Mediterranean, Casablanca (2011).