Posts Tagged ‘research’


July 1st, 2008

Video installation by Bruce Nauman.

Live Taped Video Corridor (1970)

In Live/Taped Video Corridor, you walk down a long, very narrow corridor. At the end of the corridor there are two monitors on top of each other. The lower one shows a video tape of the corridor, the upper one shows a live (CCTV) video of the corridor, shot from a camera at a height of about 3 meters, at the entrance of the corridor. The effect is that as you walk down the corridor, you see yourself from the back, and as you approach the monitor you get further away from the camera so you never really get any closer to “yourself”.

Corridor Installation (Nick Wilder Installation) 1971 consists of an inaccessible room and six corridors, three of which may be entered. Navigating these spaces we encounter a series of television monitors that relay our image taken by CCTV cameras. The positioning of the cameras is such that the information displayed on the monitors contradicts that of actual experience: we are left with a feeling of confusion and even isolation.

To enter these works is to become a performer, yet at no time are we in control. Such are the spatial limitations that we can only make a limited number of responses, predetermined by the artist: ‘Whatever ways you could use it were so limited that people were bound to have more or less the same experiences I had.’ Viewed by some invisible authority, we become like rats in a cage, revealing generic patterns of human behaviour.

Vito Acconci, ‘Following Piece’ 1969

Vito Acconci, like Nauman, was also one of the first artists to really experiment with surveillance in his art. In Acconci’s ‘Following piece’1969, he took his surveillance to the streets and over the course of a month he closely filmed and documented the movements of anyone that happened to cross his path. Without the control and predictability of a gallery space, his films were documents of ‘real life’ as it occurred, and with them ranging from a few minutes to a few hours in length, it was an exaggerated exploration into the idea of ‘Big Brother is watching you’: it also analysed the intusion of personal space within a public area.

Julia Scher – ‘Security by Julia IX’ 1990. Julia Scher creates elaborate installations based around security and surveillance and invites the audience to become part of the work by playing the role of both the surveyor and the surveyed in her pieces ‘The Shurmann House’1991 and ‘Security by Julia IX’ 1990. By setting up cameras throughout the space, the viewers can look at themselves, watch others and wonder who could be looking at them in return.

Manu Luksch _ Faceless. ‘In a society under the reformed ‘Real-Time’ Calendar, without history nor future, everybody is faceless. A woman panics when she wakes up one day with a face. With the help of the Spectral Children she slowly finds out more about the lost power and history of the human face and begins the search for its future.

Chris Oakley

The Catalogue. ‘Placing the viewer into the position of a remote and dispassionate agency, observing humanity as a series of units whose value is defined by their spending capacity and future needs.’

Ann Stoddard makes interactive installations in which viewers are profiled via CCTV. These works explore how context can make viewers more aware of privacy and trust issues, less accepting of CCTV. At, see: RANDOM SUBJECTS; Application Center, Waiting Room; Datapaint- Surveilling Utopia. My next show opens March 26th at the District of Columbia Art Center (DCAC), Washington DC. Please contact me at if you have questions, and to request images, a video-dvd, a press release, reviews. I hope to hear from you.

ctrl[space] : Rhetorics of Surveillance from Bentham to Big Brother. Edited by Thomas Y. Levin, Ursula Frohne and Peter Weibel (USAUK). The book was put together around an exhibition about surveillance organised from October 2001 to February 2002 at the ZKM, Centre for Art and Media in Karlsruhe (Germany). The art pieces are treated extremely well with plenty of photos and a text often written by the artists themselves.

Ethical grounding and changing relationship to our data in our surveillance driven society

December 9th, 2006

The ethical implications of using personalized data and CCTV recordings are embedded within the UK Data Protection Act.

The lawyers at the Watershed media Centre looked into this on my behalf. They concluded that provided the images were abstracted then this also met the guidelines of the Data Protection Act.

In general I aim for transparency, and gain consent if I use personal data. I also open the data via shared ownership which is placed in public domain. In my work collected data is subject to abstraction through my working process; once the personal identifiers have been removed from the data, then the resulting anonymized dataset is no longer subject to the Data Protection Act.

The key rules underlying the Act are:

  • Transparency – ensuring individuals have a very clear and unambiguous understanding of the purpose(s) for collecting the data and how it will be used;
  • Consent – at the time that the data is collected, individuals must give their consent to their data being collected, and also at this time, have the opportunity to opt out of any subsequent uses of the data.

Key to the rules of the Data Protection Act is what we describe as personal data. Within “The Emergent City”, I will initially focus on the data sets of noise, pollution, light, and temperature. In the collection of this type of data there is no conflict with data protection of privacy laws.

In the case of CCTV and more specific data for personal use, signs are usually put up in the public domain. Where I put my owns networks I will place signs. Consent has been sought in previous projects that make work which doesn’t have anonymity.

Issues of data protection have a great deal currency due to emerging technologies that are being embedded into the fabric of our everyday lives.

The whole emphasis of my work is in data relating to urban spaces to make informed, interpretive media artworks. However the use of the data that can be utilized from these tracking and surveillance technologies will also be important and have influence on my artistic working practice.

I am continuing to explore these issues, especially as data protection expands into technologies such as; smartcards for national identification (ID) schemes; biometric data, including proposed biometric passports; microchip implants and radio frequency identification (RFID) technology.

In summary the ethical grounding and changing relationship to our data in our surveillance driven society bring up a whole paradigm of debate that I am keen to engage in. This debate is very complex and also very current, and I aim to follow it and engage within it closely.