Hacking into computer systems, putting cameras on pigeons and turning the lens onto politicians: OWNI looks at the artists who are using their skills to draw attention to the issue of video surveillance.
Photographe et journaliste, j'embarque à bord de la soucoupe en octobre 2010. Je copilote depuis la rentrée 2011 de la direction artistique d'Owni avec Loguy Batonboys et je suis chargée de l'édition photo.
Since the mid-90s several informal collectives have been addressing the issue of video surveillance in public places, particularly in the United States. The Surveillance Camera Players draw the attention of their fellow citizens to the subject by performing plays, such as Ubu Roi or passages from Orwell’s 1984, with placards in view of New York City street cameras. “These groups also contain academics, members of the IAA (Institute of Applied Autonomy) which in the past distributed “Routes of least surveillance” – maps showing the areas of New York which were not under surveillance,” explains Samira Ouardi, author of the book Artivisme.
Ligna, which had roots in from Radio Free Germany movement, held happenings in public places, with large scale choreography movements prohibited in public places. They wondered “why the knowledge produced in universities was used for war or surveillance technologies. These actions were a way for them to rebel,” adds Samira Ouardi.
Here OWNI offers a retrospective of some of the most significant works in this area. Feel free to mention installations or works that have caught your eye over the years / -)
The latest effort from the Madrid collective Luz Interruptus (featured by OWNI last year) places politicians under video surveillance via their 2011 election posters, an election which the right-wing Partido Popular and its leader Mariano Rajoy won comfortably.
The architect Marco Zotes makes use of the historic water tower on Milton Street in Brooklyn, New York for his project CCTV Creative Control .
Two Dutch artists from Utrecht treat video surveillance as a big city pest, and so give cameras the bodies of pigeons.
In 2009, the municipality of Madrid installed 48 cameras in the popular district of Lavapies. The collective barrio feliz hacked into the video surveillance system via WiFi and diverted the transmission signal of the video images to a different channel.
In Mexico an anonymous collective has created an open source mobile application which allows each person to geotag the cameras on an Open Street Map as soon as they spot one.
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