Derek Frech
Counter Measures

November 13 - December 20th, 2015
Opening Reception, November 13th 6-9pm

Interstate Projects is pleased to present Derek Frech’s solo exhibition, Counter Measures, which negotiates the disruption of wireless communication as a form of censorship in addition to its potential as an anti surveillance tool.

Frech has created a space with the capacity to be a RF (radio frequency) quiet room –a room that is free of electronic transmissions including, Wifi, GPS, cell phone signals, Bluetooth, and radio communication. To do this Frech has armed the entrance of the gallery with an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that if turned on could disable any electronics entering or exiting the space. On the walls are six sealed frames that contain homemade signal jammers which add to the conceptual possibilities of how information is controlled and who has authority over it.

Signal jammers are devices that deliberately disrupt authorized wireless communications. In the United States these instruments are regulated by the FCC and are illegal for citizens to operate, import, sell or market. Violating these regulations is a federal crime and the FCC classifies their use as theft as they can disrupt services for paying citizens. Using jammers has legal repercussions including steep fines and jail time as well as complex moral implications. The FCC makes the moral case to ban them because of their ability to prevent communication during emergencies but when they are used by governments (to censor internal communication, satellite signals, or the detonation of destructive devices with cell phones) they are justified in the name of safety, terror, and national defense.

By creating a potential RF quiet room, Counter Measures brings attention to how digital and physical privacy are near impossibilities, the constancy with which it is controlled and the morality of that condition. Our reliance on wireless communication and the ease with which these networks are monitored makes the most essential human act –language and transmission of information–reliant and defined by external forces. Signal jammers have the potential to temporarily thwart this and present an alternative for those who want to exist outside of this structure. This includes protesters, political dissidents, or the average citizen who is concerned with privacy or who wants a way to shut off.

Although the signal jammers are sealed off and the entrance’s EMP is not turned on, they still have potential, that if used, if turned on, would collapse the tools which facilitate how we communicate but also those mechanisms which regulate, define and control it as well.

Derek Frech (b.1987) lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Solo exhibitions include; Actual Size (Los Angeles), Important Projects (Oakland), and Rebekah Templeton Contemporary (Philadelphia). Group exhibitions include; Johannes Vogt Gallery, Institute of Contemporary Art (Portland, ME), Institute of Contemporary Art (Philadelphia), Bodega (Philadelphia), Possible Projects (Philadelphia).

*Review: ArtNews Magazine