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3-10 February 2024

Navine G. Dossos

Navine G. Dossos, Inside Africa’s increasingly lucrative surveillance market 2020, detail of the series No Such Organization 2018–2020, photo credit and courtesy of the artist

Born London, UK (1982), lives and works in Aegina, Greece

No Such Organization (Africa) 2024 (2018–2020)
self-adhesive vinyl
1m x 1m (4, each)
Courtesy of the artist

No Such Organization is a series of one hundred gouache paintings in response to the invisible event of Saudi journalist and political dissident Jamal Khashoogi’s murder and the tangled stories and news reports that surrounded his absence. A resident of McLean, Virginia, Khashoogi was at the Saudi embassy in Istanbul requesting official papers in preparation for his marriage. Khashoogi never appeared again, news outlets worldwide started reporting on the case of his brutal murder and dismemberment. His body was never found.

Each painting is a square metre, and is a real-time reaction by the artist to news articles published about his assassination and the investigations that followed. For the Lagos Biennial, four paintings are digitally reproduced, each corresponding to an article reporting on surveillance markets in Africa, spyware targets, and threats to democracy linked to the continent. Navine developed a sign system consisting of symbols, each representing nation states, agencies, technologies and other actors that played a role in the story of Khashoogi’s murder.

Four paintings are digitally reproduced, focusing on articles about how dozens of journalists, human rights activists and business leaders were tapped by Pegasus, an Israeli mobile phone spyware used in Moroccan, Saudi, Togolese and Rwandan intelligence services, the findings are based on research by The Citizen Lab, based at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy in Toronto.

The composition represents a kaleidoscopic view of a story with many moving parts, looking at different state actors that have bought and used surveillance equipment to keep tabs on local activists and those with oppositional views of government through their phones and use of social messaging platforms. We see symbols that relate to the lucrative trade in spyware, including a money bag, and the brand logo of NSO, an Israeli cyber-intelligence firm primarily known for its proprietary spyware Pegasus, which is capable of remote zero-click surveillance of smartphones.

Navine G. Dossos’s work is included in CAPTCHA.