24th November 2020 at 7pm UTC “Carrying the cross” by Filipe Vilas-Boas (Paris , FR) dur 15 min

“Carrying the cross” by Filipe Vilas-Boas

Carrying The Cross is a durational performance by artist Filipe Vilas-Boas that has been derived from an ongoing body of work investigating global interconnection utopia, spiritual magic and contemporary algorithmic slavery dystopia. Born in 1981, Filipe Vilas-Boas is a French-Portuguese conceptual artist based in Paris, who works on a variety of projects that question society’s use of digital media platforms and its political, social and environmental repercussions.
Constructed from timber and nails and measuring 340 x 200 x 50 cm, a giant sculptural ‘f’ is carried collectively through the streets by the artist and the public ready for crucifixion, marking the pinnacle moment of the performance.
Conceived as a commentary on digital platforms and, more generally, on the growing weight of the private sector both in the public space and in the private sphere, the performative procession was originally conceived as part of ‘EDEN’, Vilas-Boas’ solo show at Zaratan Arte Contemporânea in Lisbon during July 2019. The piece aims to stimulate discussion on issues surrounding digital platforms such as privacy, data extractivism, surveillance capitalism, digital labor and algorithm biases. Carrying the cross draws on the emotiveness of hope and oppression within the parameters of digitalisation where technology meets religion.

The performance was reenacted in London around Tate Modern, part of the Tate Exchange programme curated by Hyphen Labs. From September 17-29 2019, the Tate Modern workshop and exhibition questioned our relationships with digital platforms, the power behind technology and how art can be used as a tool of intervention.

Concept: Filipe Vilas-Boas
Carriers/Performers: Filipe Vilas-Boas and anonymous participants.
Photos: Filipe Vilas-Boas, Patrice Dogé, Wendy Crockett, Filipe Pais.
Videos: José Chaves, Jorge Reis, Catriona Whiteford.
Editing : Filipe Vilas-Boas
Wood work [PT]: Luís Araújo, Filipe Vilas-Boas, Patrice Dogé.
Paint [PT]: Berto Araújo.
Paint [UK]: Tate Modern, Tate Exchange’s Workshop participants.
Artist Run Space [PT]: Zaratan Arte Contemporânea.
Curators [UK]: Hyphen Lab.
Museum [UK]: Tate Exchange, Tate Modern.

Special thanks to Gemma Norris and José Chaves.


Filipe Vilas-Boas was born in Portugal in 1981. He is a self-taught conceptual artist currently living and working in Paris. Without being a naive tech utopist or a reluctant technophobe, he explores our use of technology and its ethical and aesthetic implications. His installations, performances and conceptual artworks question the global digitalization of our societies, mostly by merging our physical (IRL) and digital (URL) worlds.
His works were highlighted in the Portuguese Emerging Art Books, 2018 & 2019 Edition and have been shown internationally notably at Nuit Blanche Paris, the UNESCO, Biennale Siana, Le Cube, The French Ministry of Culture, Biennale Némo – Le 104 (FR), Athens Digital Art Festival, Monitor – Heraklion Contemporary Arts Festival (GR), Zaratan, MAAT Museum (PT) and at the Tate Modern (UK).