David Taylor, Seismic Sensor, Texas, 2007. From the series “Working the Line,” 2007 – 2010. Pigment print on aluminum, 29 ½ x 36 ⅜ inches. Courtesy of the artist and James Kelly Contemporary, Santa Fe, New Mexico. © David Taylor

David Taylor, Seismic Sensor, Texas, 2007. From the series “Working the Line,” 2007 – 2010. Pigment print on aluminum, 29 ½ x 36 ⅜ inches. Courtesy of the artist and James Kelly Contemporary, Santa Fe, New Mexico. © David Taylor

This Saturday, a symposium examines challenging and timely issues of privacy and security. Coupled with an art exhibition, the panel discussion will include Washington Post journalist Dana Priest, who will deliver the keynote address. Priest is a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize.

Organizers say Priest will offer “an incisive appraisal of national security, counter-terrorism and the U.S. intelligence industry since 9/11.” Also appearing will be artists Hasan Elahi, David Gurman and David Taylor; their work probes “electronic surveillance, terrorist profiling and classified government programs.” SMoCA Curator Claire C. Carter and Sandra S. Phillips, Curator of Photography at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, will also speak.

The symposium is titled “Stop Asking and Start Questioning: Information, Secrecy and Surveillance Since 9/11.” It is paired with the exhibition “Covert Operations: Investigating the Known Unknowns.” As organizers say, the show:

“considers a generation of artists working in the violent and uncertain decade following the 9/11 terrorist attacks to collect and reveal previously unreported information. Using traditional research methods—such as the Freedom of Information Act, government archives, field research and insider connections—these artists tackle subjects ranging from classi­fied surveillance to terrorist profiling, narcotics traffi­cking to ghost detainees and nuclear weapons to drone strikes. The thirty-seven artworks included in Covert Operations employ the tools of democracy to bear witness to attacks on liberty and to embrace democratic ideals, open government and civil rights.”

More detail on the symposium is here.

Jenny Holzer, Ribs, 2010. Eleven LED signs with blue, red and white diodes, text: US government documents, 58 1/4 x 5 1/4 x 5 3/4 inches each. Courtesy of the artist and Cheim & Read, New York. © 2010 Jenny Holzer, member Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Richard-Max Tremblay.

Jenny Holzer, Ribs, 2010. Eleven LED signs with blue, red and white diodes, text: US government documents, 58 1/4 x 5 1/4 x 5 3/4 inches each. Courtesy of the artist and Cheim & Read, New York. © 2010 Jenny Holzer, member Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Richard-Max Tremblay.

Are you interested in the intersection between dolls and murder?

Perhaps that matrix has never occurred to you, but the role that dolls have played in forensics may be more palatable. And that is just what is offered in a film screening tomorrow night.

At the Scottsdale Museum for Contemporary Art, the film “Of Dolls and Murder” will explore crime-fighting of a unique variety. As the producers describe it, “In the 30s and 40s before forensics, DNA, and CSI, crime-fighting grandmother Frances Glessner Lee created dollhouses of miniaturized real-life crime scenes. These creations are still used today to train detectives.

This documentary looks at the dioramas, the woman who created them, and their relationship to modern-day forensics.

The film is being screened by No Festival Required Independent Cinema. And while I’m thinking of it, go ahead and “Like” them on Facebook. Its Executive Director is Steve Weiss, and this is just the latest of a long string of amazing films he has brought to Arizona.

Where was I? Oh, yes, be sure to go here for more information on the film. It will be screened on Thursday, January 19, at SMoCA. The cost is $7, and tickets are available either by calling the Museum (480-874-4666) or at the front admission counter. Doors to the SMoCA Lounge open at 7:00 pm, and the film begins at 7:30. Seating is general admission, and a no-host bar is available.

Frances Glessner Lee

The screening is sponsored by Woodesign.

SMoCA’s Lesley Oliver reported that a few experts from the Scottsdale Police Department will attend the screening and the Q&A portion of the evening. As she wrote, “Come meet some real CSI people before we watch this intriguing documentary!”