Who the People? is a series of new artworks produced by Lanfranco Aceti and installed at Chetham’s Library and Museum as part of their permanent collection. The artworks, 16 framed prints, deal with issues of identity, data, post-capitalism and enslavement. Based on a concept of portraiture that mixes data, surveillance and the erasure of individuals’ stories, the installation at Chetham’s Library generates a narrative on the process of the erasure of humanity.

Installed within the oldest public library in Britain, the artworks, wrapped in chains, dot the shelves that display volume issues of Philosophical Transactions. They are in the corridor that leads to the room where Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels worked together and began to write the Communist Manifesto.

Commenting on the artworks, Lanfranco Aceti said that it was an honor to have the artworks featured in such a prestigious collection and that it was a ‘full circle,’ a meta-narrative of philosophical and aesthetic approaches, moving from theories of Communism to issues of post-capitalism, remainder and data exploitation within contemporary media and social narratives.

“There is something haunting and unsettling” said the artist “about these artworks which are framed within multiple frames and chained and caged. The identities of people, their narratives and their histories, seem to all but disappear and one is left to reconstruct some kind of story from the remainder of the process of ontological and phenomenological institutionalization of identities.”

The artworks will be placed in the permanent collection of Chetham’s Library and viewers will be able to view them during their visit to this unique heritage site in Manchester, United Kingdom. The artworks can be viewed online via the artist’s portfolio.

Curator: Fionn Tynan-O’Mahony. Assistant Curator: Joe Blakey.

With special thanks to: Chetham’s Library, FutureEverything, Department of Design Informatics at Edinburgh University and the Department of Media and Communications at Goldsmiths, University of London.