Megan Snowe, Less-Than-Lethal
January 18, 2018 – March 15, 2018

I’m sweating; I’m wanting; I’m not sure; I’m horny as hell; I’m not enough. My desire-machine chugs along, programmed to be hungry, but dampened by doubt. Or is that the effects of a social algorithm of denial? I suppose it is easier to be actively denied than wonder to death. Denial can be crippling, incapacitating and heartbreaking, but is ultimately less than lethal.

Innovation is: active denial.

Less-Than-Lethal is a video installation created for Custom Program that imagines the inner monologues of a hypothetical victim of The Active Denial System (ADS). The Active Denial System is a customizable personal social software that proactively repels unwanted contact with people, materials, or situations through enhanced body language, scent, millimeter-waves and other techniques. Personal social software is a software one can, Snowe proposes, install into one’s biological operating system to assist with social interaction.

Less-Than-Lethal is inspired by a weapon developed by the US military of the same name – a less-than-lethal “heat ray” for purposes of crowd control. Originally developed for use in the War in Afghanistan, The Active Denial System’s energy is produced by a gyrotron and transformed into a focused and directional millimeter-wave radio frequency beam. This beam excites tiny water molecules on the skin’s surface and produces a sensation of intense heat. Despite its efficacy in dry-weather counter personnel missions the ADS is inhibited by precipitation such as snow, rain and fog, making the effects of the generated heat ray feel more warm and comfortable than repellent. Playing on this use of, as well as sensitivity to, moisture Less-Than-Lethal employs the imagery of human sweat and ambiguous bodily fluids as signs of both discomfort and pleasure.

January 18, 2018 – March 14, 2018 – by appointment only
Opening Reception: Thursday, January 18, 7-9pm

Closing Reception: Wed. March 15, 7-9PM


Less-Than-Lethal’s companion exhibition The Active Denial System is on view at The Artist’s Institute at Hunter College.
January 20, 2018 – February 6, 2018
132 East 65th Street, New York, NY