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Biography

“Interesting fella”

– GCHQ

Working under the pseudonym Bill Posters, Barnaby Francis is an artist-researcher, author and activist who is interested in art as research and critical practice. Poster’s works often interrogate persuasion architectures and power relations that exist in public space and online. He works collaboratively across the arts, sciences and advocacy fields on conceptual, intervention, synthetic, net art, photography and installation-based projects. Recently he has established the field of synthetic art with works created using emerging synthetic media (deep fake) technologies.

Since 2017, Posters extended his focus to critically interrogate the associated online architectures that define the digital influence industry. This marks a natural progression for the former street artist into an alternate ‘commons’ and reveals interesting territory for the application of critical theory to contemporary issues concerning disinformation, identity, computational propagandas, dataism, privacy, human rights, surveillance capitalism and democracy. His projects have received organic global media coverage in print, on radio and TV.

Working alongside Dr. Daniel Howe, his Spectre installation won the Sheffield Doc/Fest 2019 Alternate Realities Award and became embroiled in a global conversation about the power of the digital influence industry and computational forms of propaganda. Several synthetic (deep fake) artworks released as a digital intervention on Instagram went viral leading to global press coverage and unexpected – and contradictory – official responses from Facebook, Instagram and Youtube. In 2019, Spectre was also shortlisted for the Aesthetica Art Prize, received a 2020 SXSW Artist Commission and was selected for inclusion into the MIT Docubase Lab.

In 2016 Posters received Communications Sans Frontiers’ ‘Activist of the Year’ Award and was recipient of 2019 Alternate Realities Award (Sheffield Doc/Fest), 2020 Aesthetica Art Prize (shortlist) and his immersive installation Spectre received official selections for Sheffield Doc/Fest (2019) and a SXSW (2020). His works have been shown at Annka Kultys Gallery, London; Berlin University of the Arts, Berlin; Museum Jorn, Silkeborg; Artmossphere III Biennale, Moscow; Centre for Contemporary Art, Barcelona; 50th International Poster Biennale, Warsaw; Architectural Association, London; Design Museum, London and Banksy’s Dismaland.

In 2019, Posters founded StudioNeural, a new media and arts production company that specializes in applying emerging technologies and AI to the arts, heritage, TV and media sectors. StudioNeural was the world’s first company to offer broadcast-quality synthetic (deepfake) media for long form TV.

Posters is a published author on the subjects of subvertising, protest art and computational propaganda. His latest book was released by Laurence King in Autumn 2020. His works are in the collection of the BFI National Film Archive (UK), People’s History Museum (UK) and Poster Museum at Wilanów (PL).

Posters is co-founder of Brandalism and the Subvertisers International (SI).

 

Awards

‘Digital Dozen: Breakthroughs in Storytelling Award’ , Columbia University School of the Arts, 2020

‘SXSW Artist Commission’, 2020

Aesthetica Art Prize 2020‘ (Shortlist), 2020

‘Alternate Realities’ 2019 Artist Commission, Sheffield Doc/Fest, 2019

‘Activist of the Year’ award (Brandalism), Communications Sans Frontiers, (FR), 2016

‘International Contest of Communication & Creativity’ Award, Commissione Nazionale Italiana UNESCO, (ITA), 2016

 

Select Exhibitions

2021

MicroWave New Media Arts Festival, Hong Kong City Hall, 30th October – 7th November

‘Art Machines 2 – International Symposium on Machine Learning and Art’, Singing Waves Gallery, City University of Hong Kong, June 10th – 20th

2020

‘Trust, But Verify’, Rochester Contemporary, New York, September 4th – November 14th

‘DISSIMULATION’, Annka Kultys Gallery, London, 10th July – 10th August (solo show)

‘Non-Playable Character’, Centre for Visual Arts, Havana, Cuba, April 2nd – May 16th (postponed)

‘SXSW’, Austin, Texas, 14th – 22nd March

‘Aesthetica Art Prize’, York Gallery, York, UK, March 13th – June 7th

‘Practicing Sovereignty: Means of digital involvement’, Berlin University of the Arts, Berlin, 12th – 18th March

‘Big Dada’, Art Exchange, University of Sussex, UK, January 16th – February 8th (Solo show)

2019

‘Alternate Realities’, HOME, Manchester, UK, 9th November – 17th November (upcoming)

‘Art Strikes Back: From Jorn To Banksy’, Museum Jorn, Silkeborg, Denmark, 15th September – 8th December

‘Alternate Realities: Subconscious Sensibilities’, Site Gallery, Sheffield, UK 6th -11th June

2018

REHOGAR Xª Edición’, Fabri i Coats, Centre for Contemporary Art, Barcelona

‘Artmossphere III Street Art Biennale’, Winzavod Centre for Contemporary Art, Moscow

‘Hope To Nope: Graphics and Politics 2008-18’, Design Museum, London (exhibit removed in protest)

‘Changing Lives: 200 Years of People & Protest’, Museum of Sheffield, UK

‘EU Ideas Lab’, Law Society of Ireland, Dublin

2017

‘Cultural Hijack’, Archip Institute, Prague, 23rd June – 9th September

‘The World Transformed’, Frabrica Gallery, Brighton

‘EU Ideas Lab’, European Parliament, Brussels

2016

‘The Poster Remediated: 25th International Poster Biennale’, Poster Museum at Wallinow, Warsaw, Poland

‘(Un)gedudiges Papier’, Centre for Contemporary Art, Dresden, Germany

‘Cambiamenti Climatici’, University of Venice, Italy

2015

‘Dismaland’, Weston-Super-Mare, August 2015

‘Politika: Art & The Affairs of the City’, Engine Gallery, Manchester, 19th September – 1st October

2014

‘Cultural Hijack: Rethinking Intervention’, Architectural Association, London, 26 April – 25 May

Select Authored Texts

2020

The Street Art Manual: A Guide To Hacking The City‘, Laurence King, September 2020

2019

‘YOU WILL: A Detour Into Dataism’, Common Practices (forthcoming)

‘They Live!: A Visual & Cultural Awakening’ (essay), Rough Trade Books, January 2019

2018

‘Subvertising Manual’, Dog Section Press

2017

‘Advertisers Anonymous: A Guide To Switching Sides’, (limited edition riso print pamphlet)

Select Talks, Lectures & Workshops

2021

‘Deepfakes: From Synthetic Media To Synthetic Art’, Aesthetica Art Prize, Saturday 1st May

2020

‘Trust, But Verify’, Rochester Contemporary, New York, 19th September, 2020

‘Revised Utopias’, Alaska Design Forum, 6th October, 2020

‘Deepfakery: Satire, Human Rights, Art & Journalism in the time of Infodemics’, Witness & MIT Documentary Lab, 27th August, 2020

2019

‘Suppressing Fake News’, News Xchange Conference, Paris, France, 20th November, 2019

‘Frontiers Workshop on Truth in Graphics and the Future of AI-Generated Content’, ACM SIGGRAPH Asia, Brisbane, Australia, 17th November, 2019

‘Data Practice & Network Forensics: Subverting Persuasion Architectures’, MUTEK, Montreal, 21st August, 2019

’Spectre: Welcome To The Altar of Dataism’, MUTEK, Montreal, 21st August, 2019

‘ART & ACTIVISM with Adbusters, Brandalism & Center for Political Beauty’, CAMP, 31st July – 5th August, 2019

‘DEFRAG: Deep Fakes’, Somerset House, London, 24th July, 2019

‘Against A Capitalism of Surveillance: New Architectures To Protect Our Privacy’, Samsung 1E9 Conference, Munich, 11th July 2019

‘Spectre: A Detour into Dataism’, Sheffield Doc/Fest, 8th June, 2019

‘Hacking The City’, Urvanity Art Fair, Madrid, 27th February, 2019

2018

‘Brandalism: Subvertising & Critical Practice’, University of Applied Arts Vienna, 17th November, 2018

‘Hacking The City: Creative Strategies of Resistance’, Centre for Contemporary Art, Barcelona , 19th – 21st October, 2018

‘Brandalism: Subverting Persuasion Architectures’, MSc Media & Communications, London School of Economics, 14th March, 2018

Select Publications, Press & Interviews

‘Mirror With A Memory, Episode Three: Evidence’, (podcast), Carnegie Museum of Art, February 15th, 2021

‘Fake Out’, Frieze Magazine, Issue 216, January 2021

‘Lit Mods: Electronic Literature [Frame]works for the Creative Digital Humanities’, Electronic Book Review, September 2020,

‘Bill Posters: The Street Art Manual — The Definitive Guide to Reclaiming Our Streets’, Street Art NYC, September 2020

‘Hacking The Street: Bill Posters’ Guide To Guerrilla Theatre’, The Quietus, September 2020

“It stops the one-way flow of corporate bullshit”, Design Week, September 2020

‘Spectre: Watching Dystopia Speaking’, Neural Magazine, August 2020

‘Bill Posters: Dissimulation’ at Annka Kultys Gallery, Clot Magazine, August 2020

‘The Poster: A Visual History’, Margaret Timmers & Gill Saunders, V&A Museum, Thames & Hudson, July 2020

‘These Artists Make Online Disinformation Into Art’, Washington Post, June 2020 (interview)

‘The Art of Interrogation: An Interview with Bill Posters’, Juxtapoz Magazine, Summer Issue 2020

‘Aesthetica Art Prize Anthology: Future Now’, Aesthetica Magazine, (Exhibition catalogue)

‘Open Codes’, ZKM Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, Germany (Exhibition catalogue) (forthcoming)

‘Dissecting The Corporation’, State of Power 2020 report, Transnational Institute (interview)

‘Public Relations’, Tom Kelleher and Anne Marie Males, Oxford University Press (Forthcoming)

‘Mapping The Deepfake Landscape’, DeepTrace Labs, October 2019

‘How puny humans can spot devious deepfakes’, Wired Magazine, October 2019

‘Faking The Future’, Economist Films, October 2019

‘Art strikes Back: From Jorn To Banksy’, Museum Jorn, Denmark (Exhibition catalogue)

‘How Worried Should We Be About Deep Fakes?’, Trending, BBC World Service, September 2019

‘Sell Me The Truth’, The Drum Magazine, pg 66 -67, September 2019

‘Alternate Realities Digital Art Exhibition UK Tour’, Trebuchet Magazine, September 2019

Bill Posters on Deepfakes and Transparency’, Creative Review, pg 30 – 34, August/September issue, 2019

‘Facebook Wouldn’t Delete an altered video of Nancy Pelosi. What about one of Mark Zuckerberg?‘, Washington Post, June 2019

‘Facebook lets deepfake Zuckerberg video stay on Instagram’, BBC News, June 2019

‘Doctored video of sinister Mark Zuckerberg puts Facebook to the test‘, The Guardian, June 2019

‘Artists Create a Sinister ‘Deepfake’ of Mark Zuckerberg to Teach Facebook a Lesson About Digital Propaganda’, Artnet, June 2019

‘Deep Fakes: Can we Believe Anything We See Online?’, Channel 4 News, June 2019

‘Deep Fakes Threat: Who Is Behind The New AI Phenomenon’, Euro News, June 2019

‘Zuckerberg Must Tolerate the Deep Fake Treatment’. The Independent, June 2019

‘Deepfake Zuckerberg Declares Himself World Ruler’, Die Spiegel, June 2019

‘Why Artists Created a Mark Zuckerberg ‘Deepfake’’, Frieze Magazine, June 2019

‘Watch Deepfaked Mark Zuckerberg Rant About How He Controls You’, Futurism, June 2019

‘Hail SPECTRE! Subvertising goes Deep-Fake‘, Good Trouble Magazine, June 2019

‘Creative Climate Communications’, Professor Maxwell Boykoff , Cambridge University Press, 2019

‘5 To See: Alternate Realities’, Aesthetica Mag, May 2019

“Collisions”, The Missouri Review, Spring 2019

‘Activist of the Month: Bill Posters’ (Interview), Hate Magazine, January 2019

‘The Anarchist Street Artists Taking on Corporate Ads’ , Medium, December 2018

‘Bill Posters & Valtonyc: The Gag Law Made Me Do It’, Brooklyn Street Art, December 2018.

‘The movement replacing ads with anti-capitalism’, New Internationalist magazine, November 2018

‘Bill Posters takes aim at #BlackFriday’ , Street Art Today. November 2018

‘Waste World’, Very Nearly Almost Magazine. November 2018

‘Waste World’, Street Art News, November 2018

‘Artmossphere Biennale “Offline” , Street Art News, September 2018

‘The Dirt on Waste’, New Internationalist Magazine, Issue 516, Autumn 2018 (editorial artwork)

‘The Fundamentals of Graphic Design’, Nigel Ball, Bloomsbury (Forthcoming), 2018

‘These guys are hacking ad spaces and they want you to join them’, VT Magazine, July 2018

‘Uncoated: Duck the Issue’, Eye magazine, Issue 96, June 2018.

‘Shell’s Festival of unbelievable bullshit’, New Internationalist Magazine, June 2018

‘Hope to Nope: Graphics and Politics 2008-18’, Margarate Cubbage, Design Museum (exhibition catalogue), 2018

‘The Hackers Using Street Ads to Protest’, CNN Style, March 2018

‘Socialism in the Sunshine’, FRIEZE magazine, October 2017

‘Advertising Shits in Your Head’, Vyvian Rauol, Dog Section Press, 2017

‘The Poster Remediated’, David Crowley, 25th International Poster Biennal (exhibition catalogue), 2016

‘Inside the anti-advertising movement that’s recruiting ad agency workers’, Business Insider, April 2016

‘Brandalism hijacks Paris ad space to target climate conference sponsors’, Creative Review, January 2016. Magazine.

‘Anti-advertising: the hijacked bus stops of Paris’, Guardian Art & Design, November 2015

‘Eco activists Brandalism launch Paris ad takeover’, BBC News, November 2015

‘Activists flood Paris with ads mocking corporate sponsors of climate change talks’, Washington Post, December, 2015

‘Brandalism’, Channel 4 Random Acts (short film). December, 2012

‘Brandalism Takes Aim at Advertising’, DW, November 2012

‘Brandalism At The London Olympics’, Forbes Magazine. August 2012.

‘100 Days of Active Resistance’, edited by Vivienne Westwood, 2011

 

Select Academic Papers

‘The State of Deepfakes: Landscapes, Threats & Impacts’, Henry Ajder, Giorgio Patrini, Francesco Cavalli & Laurence Cullen, DeepTrace Labs, September 2019

‘DeepFakes & Cheap Fakes: The Manipulation of Audio & Video Evidence’, Britt Paris & Joan Donovan. Data & Society, 2019

‘Brandalism for the Environment: The Logic of Appropriation’, Eleftheria Lekakis. Popular Communication, 15 (4). pp. 311-327, 2017

‘Art Against Consumption’, Dilek Alkan Ozdemir, Associate Professor at Anadolu University, New Zealand. Scope: Contemporary Research Topics (Art & Design), September 2017

‘On Advertising’, Professor David Crowley, Head of Critical Writing in Art & Design, Royal College of Art, 2016

‘Outdoor Advertising & the Urban’, Ann Chronin, Reader in Sociology, Lancaster University, 2016

‘Limiting law: art in the street and street in the art.’ Law, Culture and the Humanities. ISSN 1743-8721, 2015

‘Brandalism and subvertising: hoisting brands with their own petard?’, Adam Smith-Anthony, John Groom. Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice, Volume 10, Issue 1, 2015, Pages 29–34, 2015