Vehicle Sightings

Vehicle Sightings [works with a private investigators’] database which is populated by images shot by tow trucks in search of cars to repossess. Though taking photographs isn’t necessary for this process, as a scan of a license plate will trigger an alert, there’s money to be made in generating photographic ‘proof’ that vehicles have been at specific locations. Seeking to intervene in this visual economy, the artist parked her and friends’ cars near the entrances of repo yards to increase the chance they’d be seen, then searched for their plates on the database to obtain the images on view. What results is true PI cinema, filmed by unwitting repo men and performed by vehicles Weist embellished with flowers, an oversize tutu, and Holbein’s anamorphic skull, which the camera is unable to see from an undistorted angle. A sign beside one car asks “Where is the Public?” Has the public sphere shrunk to an encounter with a probing eye? To make the companion series Watching the Watcher, Weist ran the plates of the tow trucks themselves, discovering images of trucks accidentally shot by others. Taking a postmodern turn, this particular surveillance network—independent of her direction—happens to play itself.

Weist, sunburned after hours of waiting for her closeup, sits on the curb in one image from Vehicle Sightings. She stares the camera down while also meeting our gaze, acknowledging that she too is caught by the system which gives her considerable power over others. Julia Weist the artist and Julia Weist the private investigator, the person who poses in this image and the one who finds it through the database: the gap can seem infrathin, yet it holds a force that entangles us all.

— Excerpted from a text by Tyler Coburn, 2024

Self Portrait, 2023
14 7/8 x 13 3/8 inches (framed)
3 x 5 1/4 inches (image)
archival pigment print
Edition of 3 + 1AP

Rose, 2023
14 7/8 x 13 3/8 inches (framed)
3 x 5 1/4 inches (image)
archival pigment print
Edition of 3 + 1AP

Tutu, 2023
14 7/8 x 13 3/8 inches (framed)
3 x 4 inches (image)
archival pigment print
Edition of 3 + 1AP

The Ambassadors, 2024
14 7/8 x 13 3/8 inches (framed)
3 x 5 1/4 inches (image)
archival pigment print
Edition of 3 + 1AP

Mirror, 2024
14 7/8 x 13 3/8 inches (framed)
3 x 5 1/4 inches (image)
archival pigment print
Edition of 3 + 1AP

Where is the Public, 2023
14 7/8 x 13 3/8 inches (framed)
3 x 5 1/4 inches (image)
archival pigment print
Edition of 3 + 1AP

Watching The Watcher (They Have License Plates Too, 24182 TT), 2024
26 1/4 x 21 7/8 inches
nine archival pigment prints
Edition of 3 + 1AP

Watching The Watcher (They Have License Plates Too, 23639 TT), 2024
26 1/4 x 21 7/8 inches
nine archival pigment prints
Edition of 3 + 1AP

Watching The Watcher (They Have License Plates Too, 24891 TT), 2024
26 1/4 x 21 7/8 inches
nine archival pigment prints
Edition of 3 + 1AP