Exhibition in Canada at New Media Gallery Vancouver.

October 15, 2016 by stanza Leave a reply »
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Surveillance based artworkThe Agency at the End of CIvilization

A sprawling collection of daisy-chained monitors, watchful orbs and speakers give voice to circulating, machinic narratives. The Agency at the End of Civilization, by British artist Stanza, presents a parallel future-present that combines real-time data with false narratives. In this world we are under constant surveillance; we are watched in precise detail, our movements are interpreted by machines. Yet the interpretation of what we are seeing and hearing becomes increasingly uncertain. The work links real video and information from hundreds of CCTV cameras in the south of England . Aligned to this are millions of car number plates from the UK car number plate recognition system (The Internet of Cars Project). Using predictive software the machine collects what it is seeing in real time, then begins to insert false narratives to create its own version of reality. The work speaks to our control of public space and our trust in technology.

 

WITNESS

Originally the word Witness meant knowledge, in the sense that you must see, observe or know by personal presence. Over time it became understood as a means of establishing identity and thus the notion of the eye-witness was established: one who testifies to what they have perceived through their senses; tasting, touching, hearing…and seeing. The seeing, witnessing machine, is something that has been imagined and alluded to for centuries. This exhibition contemplates the seeing machine.

Surveillance based artwork

There are five works of art in this exhibition. Each sets up an interplay between the perceiving machine, the world that is perceived by the machine and we, who are both perceiving + perceived bodies. A symbiotic relationship is formed between organic and non-organic systems. There are many ways of seeing. One process of controlled watching is surveillance; a monitoring of behavior for the purposes of influence, discipline, protection or control. It has been said that surveillance is as old as civilization itself. In this exhibition we encounter deeply coded, multi-layered processes of seeing, recognition and surveillance.

Machine vision can often outperform humans. Like humans, machines can distinguish light from dark. They form visual images. They understand their surroundings and have knowledge of the world. They follow our movements, predict our behavior, captivate us and bond with us. Perhaps more importantly we bond and enable them. This exhibition allows us to imagine futures and recall why sight developed.

Surveillance based artwork

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