CTRL (Space) – Rhetorics of Surveillance from Bentham to Big Brother 0262621657, 9780262621656

This book investigates the state of panoptic art at a time when issues of security and civil liberties are on many peopl

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CTRL (Space) – Rhetorics of Surveillance from Bentham to Big Brother
 0262621657, 9780262621656

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18 |

Soziologie der Sinne,


in Georg Simmel,



the link that individuals created when lookje:



der Vergesellschaftung,

ing at each other, Simmel discerned the Subrke np Ver!



rankfu ita.



most direct and purestanette gaze


arte. Being as social act cf, Jean-Paul Sartre,

on which

can possibly exist between two Ontology,t


Otthein Rammstedt


2-762 (original edition 1908),

An Essay on Phenomenological

and Nothingnes


el E. Barn


On the returned


beings. The ‘dialogic ‘glance should b Saas considered a fundamental point in the

Library, New York


1958, pp

original edition

19423) 1943

establishment of social contacts, described

by Simmel as “socialization.” Disregarding the rules of perception in a social context, vision becomes a timeless form of socialization, which itself poses the question of the logic of power that results in the rule of one of the senses over the others, or of the precedential right of “free” vision and its instrumentalization for ideological, economical, social, or cultural purposes. Even if the civilizing process was marked with individual and social “interwoven independences” (Norbert Elias), the assumed privilege of “free” vision was mostly connected with a hierarchical system of authority. The overpowering and ubiquitous eye of God can be considered as prototype of this hegemonic vision. Here, optical control is connected with mythology. It epitomizes, so to speak, the iconic a priori of the modern police state. In the beginning was the Eye The idea that gods have eyes, or even more, are eyes, reaches back to before antiquity. Divine symbolism should be seen as a relic of hieroglyphic knowledge that had also Greek and Roman authors. There are no extant illustrations of the single eye as Christian sign for the divine in early Christian and medieval art. Wherever the motif aN it is interpreted as apotropeion. ° The eye or eyes of God are menf. Lore Kaute,


Aug se Gottes, in Lexikon der christlichen\/konographie,

tioned often in the Bible. Yet anthropoKirschbaum 3 J (ed.), Verlag Herder,

vol. 1, Engelhart

Freiburg i, B, 1968,

col. 222-224. Cabalistic texts, in which

there is mention of the triune eye of God, are a possible

literary source apart from the Bible; cf.

morphic illustrations of the organ signiifying divine omnipresence and omniscience canWilhelm August

Schulze, Das Auge Gottes, in egy iaest fur Kirchengeschichte, vol. 68, nos. 1-2,

not be traced prior to the sixteenth cen 1957, pp. 149-152. On the allegorical modes of ae One of the earl y symbolic interpretations Das Auge im_Mittela/ter, vol of thedivine wea eg Os of modern caaaee is the so-called Seven Deadly Sins by Hieronymus Bosch, a religious mandala in the form of a tabletop.” A large tondo 7 _ Gosbert SchiiBler has ee


of God's eye in the Middle Ages 2,/Wilhelm Fink, Munich


pp. 1076-1110,

“abstract” eye in greatest depth to date; cf. Gosbert


WOT A Cnc peas,

aut?‘!iedlinert aeOlt ne,

Hieronymus Bosch Seven Deadly Sins c. 1480-1500, oil on wood, 47 x 59” Museo del Prado, Madrid

stands out before the dark background, and in its ‘center, the Man. ‘of. Sorrows igen

Kuns sf,



| appears ‘iterally a “pupil. ” The a _ means ‘used by the Flemish painter to ‘produce the impression of.an eye.are as ar Katalog d hesimple as ‘they are‘subtle.“The “abstract _. style ofGod!seye is‘based.onthegeometric \Weinhe WEINTEIT


“part by three concentric rings. The dark blue disc with Christ in the center and the golden circle with the centrifugal rays emerging only at its periphery, achieve, by a combination of the plastic effect and optical contrast, a spatially realistic quality, which assumes the form of a pupil and iris. The scenic outer ring can, on the

8 _ On the 1946, pp. supported

other hand, be interpreted as a globe, perhaps even as a reflection of the world in God’s eye. S E rre Tisné, Paris mbe, Jérome Bosc! fusi on of eye and ear th ct. J “The lidless ivine eye iss alwaysopen, edly ste the re to re attempts 12 79 On the basis of sev eral 0 sees all. “Catie> cae dlominjus videt” isthe theory of a reflection of


on of depravity



t reatening warnin

out that details of the series of depravity and

also The


in the center of the not shown in verted;

picture, ‘drafted iinred Gothic print: “Take

ef. SchiiBler, op. cit., pp.



Despjte SchiiBler's “technical” argumend, pee care, take care, God sees you. ° Bosch fur-

still remains whether Bosch’s tabletopj

is held in nishes the ‘ubiquity ‘ofGod bythat in Carl a semantic whole, recognized sign brilliant witha m aphoris e alarming des Hieronymus Bosch in Spanien, in Jahrt

9 . Inscription and the Man of Soraos fc m

the series of depravity; cf. Carl Justi,hte arke

of light, making eye and sun, vision and schen Ki 1st light,‘analogous. The gleaming rays |lead to 5 te the outer frieze, where the seven se aan ee


sins are seen in an equivalent number of genre pictures. Anger, pride, lust, idleness, gluttony, miserliness, and envy step onto the world stage which, as it were, revolves around itself. Following a medieval system of classification, the moralizing picture program is arranged paratactically around the “opperste appel,” which, in the Dutch prose translation of Guillaume Deguileville’s dream vision poems, The Pilgrimage of Human Life (1330/31), is compared to For his part, Christ, with his sr

yanden pe

face turned slightly sideways, directs the citation from Marijnissen gaze to the sequence of vice an thus to the cause of his passion. In the gendered role of the eye, the supreme organ of control has masculine connotations. Its task consists first of all in obtaining a systematic overview of human frailty in everyday life. This — taking into consideration as a composition whole — is then categorically damned. The picture fields arranged around the glory permit an overall view, which is first

t, Haarlem

and Ruyffe elaere, op. cit.,

1 A486;

p. 335 Go

Astrit Schmidt-Burkhardt __ The All-Seer

explained by the function of the picture as a table. The everyday world, captured by the divine eye in a panoptic glance, is gradually shown to the observer as he moves round the table. Nicholas of Cusa, with a sure feeling for the media of painting, had previously interpreted a a Soe onRoger van der Weyden in this sense." In his Tables of, Jus h hungin the Golden Chamber of paper De visione Dei,completed iin 1453, he Theol! paintings


destroyed by a f


5. The Bern

Trajan an

“concluded that the picture in the Brussels ntemporary

egpy. According

to the





“town halllap eared to command aa clear af in the center part, =



i)A 7

\\ \W ) Boa ru | He lllil “aa rl

rl ji AL

ms ill


NNS ZI TAN a E oeae

He ot





eri :

before World War I, at a time when domestic politics were in a turmoil due to labor unrest and the radical women’s movement. The “futurist eye,” then in an élan vital activates, in a sense, i deStructive Potential of the divine eye.** +4




of th





in futurism

cf. Wyndham Lewi: d

“The Mechanization ofvision v “The rule of mechanization, a1 great influence on daily life in the nineteenth century, included techniques of visual communication, even if these are not men-

tioned in Sigfried Giedion’s “anonymous history” on the subject of the humble objects and banal things of daily use with serious cultural consequences. The as-


Spear me “"yet-unwritten historyofthe mechanization New York 1948 (Re 2 of vision1 would need to show how oosym-




also Arnold



Takes Command

[...], in


i “bolic!function of surveillance of




eye is slowly but surely ie to electronic “eyes,” or rather taken over by them. These highly developed sensors are capable of scanning great distances. As one early form of this “seeing machine,” the specialized book author, Christoph Ries, propagates long-distance photography in his book of the same name, dating from 1916. This transfers optical pictures into electrical signals, which are transmitted worldwide via telegraph lines and converted again at their destination into the picture taken. Once again divine foresight is manifested in the technical long-distance picture. “Korn’s long-distance camera” of 1902, presented by Ries as the most perfect device so far, functions in a process analogous to the telephone. 4° However, in A6 _ Cf. Christoph Ries, Sehende Maschinen.

Eine kyrze Abhand/ung

uber die gel heimnisvojlen

order to let human beings share the divine die staunenswerten Leistungen der sehenden ability to see into the distance, a whole Maschinen, Joseph C. Hubers; Diessen near’ Munich 1916, p. 100; Wolfgang Pire ie Das Bild series of inventions were stil necessary. Maschine, in Wunschmaschine Welterfindung. Eine Geschichte der Technikyisionen Palen Meanwhile, an eye charged with electricity 18, Jahrhundert, Brigitte Felderer (ed 1.), Springer Verlag, Vienna 1996, pp. 93-108 (pp. 101- oe on the cover of the book suggests the Ejgenschaften der lichtempfindlichen Suis und

On the “epoch of paradox logic,” with the Anin Bio


possi bility of


ee global presence


guided by pictures has taken place, into new practices of observation and surveillance. The phantasm of omnipresence of the divine eye, evoked by the Christian conception of life, is well preserved in the modern police state through the leading medium, the computer. “Seeing machines,” which can be associated with highly technical as well as with moral expectations, take over the almighty function of control as a kind of public retina. In this systemic shift from hegemonial gaze to Deus ex machina, God is being replaced as the paradigmatic world observer by increasingly perfected techniques of illustrating the visible and invisible reality. The ties between vision and the eye are therefore irrevocably severed. The watchful eye of God meanwhile returns as the immortalized view offered to us by the camera.

Wolf Vostell Variation on Jesus

(over Massys), 1978-79, acrylic, camera

on emulsion canvas, 213 x17 x4 Courtesy Inge Baecker Gallery, Cologne

| would like to express my

gratitude to David Anfam, who looked at the « All-Seer with a critical eye. | thank him, Maria Hutzinger and Jane van Nimmen for being the first readers of the English translation.

js virty ally



aefener eae picture-telegraphy. It stresses

Translated from German by June Klinger

the physics of vision, not its metaphysics. In the age of video and satellite programs, of cybernetic technology and the Internet, the “optical turn” of a society

| 31

‘ sow ce

aan nt ne 5 ioe oe st




4, ¢ o pty" £04 Perera ae mytrres

4 FS


Dorte Zbikowski

__ The Listening Ear: Phenomena

of Acoustic Surveillance

“Ifa word that wants to be heard has no funnel at its disposal, it need only move to slightly below the threshold of audibility and the unreceptive recipient, pursued by the word lacking a funnel, immediately becomes attentive. Thus the figure of the listener is born.” * 1 _ Ulrich Holbein,

Der be/auschte




Listening To listen attentively,

o observe, is to lie In

ambush, to lie in wait.

riginating from hunting


always has the con-


notation of


d hesitantly

waiting for the favourable opportunity. To listen secretly, to

eavesdrop, Is to want to

not intended for one’s own

hear something

ears. Sometimes

one unintentionally learns

secrets of others, yet systematic eavesdrop-

ping is as old as the almost insatiable curiosity of man. Technical aids were devised long ago. A simple device is the funnel, used as Bogomir Ecker Hohlweg Narrow Pass 1986, sheet iron, varnished, installation, 18 parts, each 39 x 26x 8” installation view exhibition Jenisch-Park, Jenisch-Park, HamburgOthmarschen 1986


Its predecessor



the ear to improve reception of the sound waves, as were aids such as animals’ horns and shells provided hand,



Dorte Zbikowski __ The Listening Ear

with an opening at the tip. Bugs, hidden microphones which record the spoken word so that the presence of the eavesdropper is not necessary, are modern inventions born

ye word “bug”

was used

of human curiosity and the urge towards _ power and espionage. * The fact that they in connection h espiona 1 of news _not onlyrecord the s n word,put also ee allothernoises in1 the: vicinity, ‘underlines “the problems facing «everylistener. He has to filter the relevant information out of the jumble of ambient noise. That applies also to eavesdropping on conversations in the street or at meetings of large crowds. It is sometimes even difficult to follow neighbors’ dialogues at the dinner table. Those not wishing to be overheard make use of these experiences. They hide their secrets in ambient noise. It has become especially popular to exchange secrets in washrooms with the background noise of flushing water. Rushing water is a proven background noise also in the Orient. For this purpose springs are often found directly in front of the windows of Islamic buildings, as the window decoration of wooden trelliswork, the so-called MaSrabiyya, not only screens off the inhabitants from the public eye but also enables them to observe what is happening outside and to eavesdrop unnoticed. The words are however drowned by the splashing of the water. It was not until the invention of expensive directional microphones that the spy was able to suppress the reproduction of ambient sound. They make it possible to locate a spot situated some distance away and to filter words exchanged there out of the noise. They function in the same way as computers which recognize one particular “voice-print” from amongst a large number of voices. Directional microphones are therefore an important invention towards a secure future for eavesdroppers. Generally speaking, technical aids for eavesdroppers are subject to constant improve-

ment. Thus bugs first became smaller and consequently easier to hide, and have therefore become more inconspicuous.




They are, as the word “bug” implies, tiresome vermin which bleed their host, who, despite fervent searching, hardly ever gets to see them. Minute transmitters can be hidden anywhere — in tie-pins, button-holes, keyholes, sugar lumps, ball point pens — and received at distances up to a thousand meters away by any normal short wave © radio. 2Yet one problem stillremains: ihe. person under observation is‘continually on | the move. He is not always within pick up sts a range of the bug. Therefore, modern successors of the bug are microphones attached to robot insects. These change position when the light goes out and try to find a better place from which to listen. The microphones thus follow the person under observation. The intention is that of absolute control. Monitoring of telephone calls seems less problematic, as it simply involves tapping the lines. Normally those conversing imagine themselves to be completely secure. Besides which they make every effort to be and to make themselves understood, a reason why they try to eliminate, or at least reduce, ambient noise. This is advantageous for the listener. Only provided, however, that






defensive measures, are taken. Legal control The problem facing the listener when monitoring telephone calls is above all a legal one. Obvious or secret acoustic surveillance using listening devices and other sound recordings, taping of phone calls, and also installation of mirrors or sheets of glass with one-way transparency, are an intrusion into the rights of the individual and consequently not allowed. Monitoring of confidential communications is against the data protection laws of the EC. A law came into force at the end of 1967 in Germany, in an attempt to prevent the monitoring, recording and forwarding of “words not spoken publicly by another person,” threatening to punish such activities by fines or imprisonment. (Criminal Code §298).






Yet although operation of listening devices is punishable, import, manufacture and sales of bugging equipment is not forbidden in Germany. Production and sale of such devices is permitted, use of them is not. Article 13 of the Constitution is intended to protect citizens from intrusions into their private life: “Private accommodation is inviolable.” In 1998 the article was changed to such extent that technical devices may now be used to obtain evidence by means of acoustic surveillance of accommodation, but also of lawyers’ offices and doctors’ surgeries, chartered accounts, spiritual advisers, in fact all those who, on the grounds of their profession, are entitled to refuse evidence, if this aids the investigation of serious crime or the fight against organized criminality. On the one hand the change in law permitting the “Grand Bugging Attack” was heavily criticized: “Now the State can eavesdrop on anyone.” Critics feared that, despite some delay, conditions now prevailed as George Orwell had predicted in his novel 1984. People would feel totally insecure due merely to the fact that bugs could be installed. Suspects would no longer, as the convention for civil rights demands, count as innocent. On the other hand, the measure was greeted as amodern development: aimed at creating better living conditions for all citizens, it does not interfere with basic rights. The federal government is obliged to draw up an annual report on acoustic surveillance that has taken place in private housing with the aid of technical devices. In 1999 this involved thirty places of residence in eleven provinces. The longest period of observation lasted ninety-four days. The reasons for observation were: crimes according to the narcotics law, murder, manslaughter or genocide, money laundering or concealment of illegally earned assets and gang theft. Among the 142 persons, sixty-three accused, were affected by these measures. Only some of these were later informed about the measures taken.

Reasons for failing to inform them are named as ongoing investigations in seven cases, in three cases unknown whereabouts of persons involved, as well as danger of bodily harm and danger to life and to the purpose of investigation in two cases. 4.

Thirty residences formed)

in eleven





of the



Federal Republic

of Germany

Sanctions against eavesdroppers No one likes to be secretly listened to. Those powerful enough, with the corresponding means and abilities, severely punish anyone caught eavesdropping. The sanctions are based on the experience that curiosity is usually connected to evil intent. Whoever intentionally eavesdrops does so to their own advantage, or mostly to the disadvantage of they person he eavesdrops on. In myths and fairy tales it is, above all, supernatural beings, such as ghosts, witches, dwarfs or people of the night, who impose heavy punishments, as they only can and will work in seclusion.’ Ghosts hold their Handwarterbuch



des deutschen Aberglaubens,

publishedby Hann

assemblies at specific. meeting.-places. Whoever eavesdrops on 1them can gain an

advantage on the ghosts or avoid prevailing harm. An eavesdropper who gets caught or passes on their secrets will be mishandled by the ghosts, or even killed. Witches are usually content to play all kinds of tricks on the eavesdropper: food turns to dirt, an instrument into a cat’s tail, the cherries become tree bugs; they chase, hit and ill-treat their victims. Helpful dwarfs put a spell on or mishandle the eavesdropper and voyeur. Alois Liitolf tells of dwarfs who were overheard while cleaning. Due to this betrayal they never came back. Disclosure of their secrets drives dwarfs away for ever. 5 funf auche und Legend Ee Anyone ‘who listens to the peo le O

ney through the air, will, so the legends tell us, be marked by a knife or axe on the knee or turn blind in one eye for a year. In spite of all threats and sanctions, these beings did not succeed in protecting themselves permanently from the curiosity and greed of human beings. This, so we are told, is what finally drove them from the earth.


Orten Luzern, Uri, Schwyz, Unter-

\ erlag, Hildesheim

night (the army of the dead)on ‘theirjour-


and New York 1976, p. 51.

Dorte Zbikowski __ The Listening Ear

Basically there has been no change up to the present in the sanctions against

spies. At least, in as far as the eavesdropper or spy is a “normal” citizen or a “normal”

institution. However, if the existence of a global interception system, such as Echelon, comes under crossfire as being “totally illegal,” the reaction of members of parliament remains relatively calm and, instead of setting up a parliamentary committee for the purpose of examination, the minimizing declaration is made that no one need worry as everything is dealt with according to “extremely strict rules” which “are fe always observed.”” gar, wen, in: http://www.unsere-zeit.de/3212/s0701.htm

Everyday life under surveillance The long history of observation through state secret service begins with the surveillance of aristocracy and clergy. Higher ranking persons, especially in politics, are still watched and spied on nowadays. Listeningposts are placed in front of embassies to record every incident, and highly complicated constructions, even large-scale tunnels

are built. So it came to be that beneath the Soviet Embassy in east Berlin a US American spy-tunnel was built — and in the walls of the upper stories of the American Embassy in Moscow, added at a later date, a wide-spread interception network was discovered. The Russian Embassy in Washington was also extensively under-tunnelled. Everyone spies on everyone. And it becomes almost like a game which keeps itself moving, when each side spies on what the other side is spying on at the moment, or when the victim of observation deliberately feeds false information to mislead the listener. Trade with anti-interception devices such as jamming transmitters or the development of bug-proof rooms is consequently just as rewarding as the constant improvement of bugging techniques.

In the tough competitive situation of national and international economy, spying is nothing unusual, a subject of intense discussion amongst critics of the global

36 |



interception system, Echelon. This American facility dates from the days of the Cold War and has been increasingly extended and improved. Great Britain and its former Anglo Saxon colonies Canada, Australia, and New Zealand participate in Echelon. They allow American interception stations on their territory, which are operated in co-operation with the Americans, and they profit from the results of the surveillance. All data transmitted via the satellite nét is intercepted and evaluated according to selected keywords and subjects or according to programs designed to recognize languages and voices. The interception stations

are spread all over the world, in Germany the listening-post is in Bad Aibling near Munich. It is believed that Echelon is also used for industrial espionage against European companies.

The man-on-the-street did not became an object of espionage until a later date. 8 _Cf. Wolfgang Brunba eimen Andhe too was not abletoescape from thea ; net in which he was now caught. the | clients increasingly tried to find out how the ordinary citizen thinks and feels, for those with knowledge of the feelings and thoughts of the nation can manipulate and control it. Thus control of everyday life becomes an extremely explosive subject. Acoustic surveillance has found its way into our daily life in a variety of forms. All fields of public and private life can be affected. We are becoming increasingly aware of this fact. Telephone tapping still constitutes the main part — in an international comparison, Germany is top of the scale in monitoring telephone conversations with approximately 8 million calls per day. At the same time there is an increasing number of devices for acoustic surveillance used to guard property, and in domestic life there are baby and childmonitoring devices (babyphone), which are also used in a similar way in clinics for observation of patients or in dog training (to train staying quietly at home alone). Prisoners remanded in custody are also





acoustically monitored, as are prisoners when in contact with the outside world, such as visitors or phone calls, if special safety measures are called for. Monitoring devices are installed in some hotel rooms. The salesman keeps track of his customers’ opinion; the boss eavesdrops on his staff. Companies are bugged by their competitors. The microphone, hidden in the wall, in flowers, lamps, telephones, cigarettes, under tables, in briefcases, belt buckles, toilet seats, is intended to make harmless everyday items even more useful. A man gives his loved one a powder compact with built-in microphone or hides a transmitter in a mascot. A father sews a mini-spy into the lining of his daughter’s handbag.? The list of where hidden microphones have been found could be continued endlessly. Selective monitoring of individuals clearly forms the main point of emphasis in acoustic surveillance. Gossip columns, which give more or less intimate insights into the private life of prominent persons, have evened the path and now people are used to the fact that private life cannot really be protected, irrespective of all legislation. At this point manufacturers of bugging systems step in. The seeds of mistrust are sown under the motto “snoop yourself before the others bug you,” to a greater extent than the protection and security boosted are ever sold. Privacy is sold off cheaply; society finally becomes neurotic. The spread of a collective persecution mania could be a consequence. Not only useful, but also appearing as real safety aids are the devices for acoustic surveillance of car interiors. They offer the possibility, after a remote alarm signal, to monitor noises in the vehicle’s interior. Acoustic systems are used further for statistic purposes or for control of technical functions. A radio-controlled clock made by Public Data, carried on the arm of test persons, permits almost perfect acoustic surveillance of the surroundings, and is targeted at observing the behaviour of

radio listeners. In the field of medicine there are ampoules with acoustic monitoring of, for example, the quantity of anaesthetic dispensed. And the “Heidelberg Capsule,” a miniature transmitter coated with plastic, which the patient has to swallow in order to measure stomach and intestinal function otherwise impossible to register, enables new possibilities of diagnostics. In the vicinity of regional airports, measuring devices are used for acoustic monitoring of air-traffic noise. Furthermore, use is made of loudspeaker monitoring systems (Speaker Control Systems). Installed in large buildings, such as office complexes, congress centres, exhibitions halls or airports, they enable acoustic monitoring of the function of every single loudspeaker.


The beginnings of bugging systems All this finds its roots in a long tradition. People have been eavesdropping on each other since ancient times and have developed bugging devices for the purpose of spying. Probably the beginning was made with communication orifices in temples of Megalithic Culture. Such orifices, for example

in the temples of Mnajdra, Hagar Qim, and Hal Tarxien in Malta (approx. 3000 B.C. — 2500 B.C.), connect individual room indents with adjoining outer niches or spandrel chambers. These openings, round or with four rounded sides, could be closed with plugs. They are commonly classed as oracle openings. It is however assumed that they are communication orifices, used for a variety of purposes and intended for various interactions of the cult servers in neighboring rooms, therefore also as hatch,

or for optical effects. It can be assumed that manipulations with acoustic effects also took place, probably actual “oracles,” as aS were practised in classical antiquity.* Eavesdropping and buuggin were 0 _ Cf. Joachim

von Freeden, Malta und

st seiner Megalith-Tempel, Wissenschaftliche

at any rate intended as a start of ‘thing s to follow.

Buchgese eet



Dorte Zbikowski __ The Listening Ear

The 65 meter long, 23 meter high and 5 to 11 meters wide, S-shaped artificial cave situated in Latomia del Paradiso, an old quarry in the Parco Archeologico of Syracuse, can be classed as the first trailblazer of bugging devices. Thousands of prisoners from Athens were once incar-

in the dome of the old Hall of Representatives in the Capitol in Washington. The acoustic prerequisite for the effect of sound amplification is the arch of round, plain architecture on which the sound waves are conducted and focused, similar to waves of light. At each point directly opposite, even the slightest whisper can be heard. Another of these “whispering arches” is the Cathedral of Agrigent in Sicily, where a confessional box was acoustic focal point for many years. Bugging systems are, however, not usually “discovered” by chance, but are constructed deliberately on the basis of scientific observations. In this respect the seventeenth



its “Curious

Descriptions” of nature, plays an important role, not only in the development of natural science, but also in that of monitoring systems. The Jesuit padre and polymath, Athanasius Kircher (1601/02-1680), played a central role in this development. In his

L’Orecchio di Dionigi The Ear of Dionysus Latomina del Paradiso, Parco Archeologico, Syracuse

numerous works, written in Rome, he pro-

cerated there. The cave has not only a huge, mysterious opening, but also extraordinary acoustics. Sounds are amplified by about sixteen times. The name given to the cave,

L’Orecchio di Dionigi (the Ear of Dionysus), originates from Caravaggio, who in 1586, accompanied by the archaeologist Vincenzo Mirabella from Syracuse, visited the cave and compared the entrance with a human ear. Caravaggio’s definition was the basis of the legend according to which Dionysus had this cave dug to build a prison there, having discovered that the acoustics, still perfect to this day, were an ideal solution for eavesdropping on the prisoners’ conversations. All noises occurring in the cave are led to a small hole in the nearby theatre. There, so we are told, Dionysus sat and listened to his prisoners talking. Whispering galleries that can become monitoring systems if those speaking are ignorant of the fact or negligent, are later found in St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, and




vided a representive image of the spiritual life of his time. His Musurgia Universalis Sive Ars Magna Consoni et Dissoni in X. libros digesta (Rome 1650) is one of the most widely spread mani books of the seventeenth century. ‘In this, Kircher arranged tly trar

in ten chapters aa record of the universal is conception of music as reflection and model of all definitions of order and thus offers a comprehensive insight into the entire knowledge of music of his time. In Chapter IX he deals with the wonders and secrets of the “art of sound.” The chapter also includes considerations on the origin of tone and sound and the theory of sound reflection. These are followed by examples of phenomena of room acoustics from the aspect of musical efficacy. Kircher describes in detail the construction of whispering arches and listening systems. At the same time, the “magical” link of the new experimental machinery cult, characteristic of mannerism, becomes evident.

Iconifmus VII


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Athanasius Kircher Spionage-Ohr, Entwurf einer Abhoranlage Spy-Ear, Draft of a Listening System drawing published in: Athaniasius Kircher, Musurgia Universalis, Rome 1650

In one illustration, which is often reproduced nowadays, Kircher shows how he imagines a court “listening system.”

Three spy-ears are installed in the palace. One spy-ear winds from the courtyard through a thick outer wall into a magnificent room on the first floor. It ends in a statue. The statue is virtually conveyor of all words and hence oflikely intrigues discussed in the courtyard. A second spy-ear, with its receiving end positioned likewise in the courtyard, leads to a small, vaulted room, which is let into the wall. Kircher uses lines to suggest how sound entering through and amplified in the spy-ear is redirected wes : the room. It hits the arch of the ceiling from where it is focused into a statue.

The ceiling functions in the same way as a loudspeaker and the statue again in this case symbolically represents the secret informant. To the left of the illustration, the third spy-ear leads from a veranda into the room directly above. This spy-ear also ends


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Time Delay Room I 1974, installation drawing Dan Graham






Time Delay Room I 1974, video installation, dimensions variable Dan Graham Installation view ZKM | Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe 2001

that as a viewer you reference the reflexive linkage of the entire flow of information in both rooms. You will finally note on this screen a small image of the screen, that is running not with an eight second but with a sixteen second delay, and parallel to it a second small image within the image that has traveled over from the other screen in this room (needing eight seconds to make the trip). The rooms are so structured in terms of media that the spatial and temporal distances correspond: the screens closest to the cameras show the live transmissions, while those located further away show the image with the eight second delay. At the same time, the temporal distance of eight seconds defines the spatial distance between the two sets of viewers: persons going over to the other room will see themselves in one of the images or images within an image) about to leave the room. The direct correspondence between spatial and temporal distances thus generates a countervailing effect: in the video transmission, spatial and temporal distances are elided and past motivations are kept present.

Time Delay Room I First Performance: Projekt 74. Cologne, July, 1974.

Dan Graham _ Time Delay Room

| __ Yesterday/Today

Yesterday/Today 1975, video installation, dimensions variable

Stedelijk van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven Installation view at Otis Art Institute, Los Angeles, SeptemberOctober 1975 The monitor and recording were placed in the gallery to which the general public (from the street) was admitted; the camera and microphone were placed in a student lounge across a parking lot and within a building

associated with ohly the school’s activities.




The time-lag of eight seconds is the outer limit of the neurophysiological short-term memory that forms an immediate part of our present perception and affects this “from within.” If you see your behavior eight seconds ago presented on a video monitor “from outside” you will probably therefore not recognize the distance in time but tend to identify your current perception and current behavior with the state eight seconds earlier. Since this leads to inconsistent impressions which you then respond to, you get caught up ina feedback loop. You feel trapped in a state of observation, in which your self-observation is subject to some outside visible control. In this manner, you as the viewer experience yourself as part of a social group of observed observers (instead of, standing arrested in individual contemplation before an auratic object). The way we customarily experience video surveillance, we inevitably associate it with the notion of an external observer. Against this background, Graham initially leaves viewers of his installation thinking that they themselves are in the position of external observer watching a different viewing public. This notion is then subjected to criticism owing to the fact that the screen unites the properties of a mirror and a window while subverting both. It is indissolubly linked with the idea of the flow of time and cannot be influenced by the viewer changing the angle of vision. Since, when structuring the rooms by means of screen images, Graham precludes any symmetrical stalemate of internal observation and a categorically ee aisituation of outside observation, in order to evoke both notions at once, a flowing balance emerges of surveyed observance and observed surveillance. Here, the viewers learn to identify the media of surveillance with the psychological effects that it exerts on them and other viewers owing to the structural conditions of its usage. Exploring this situatiom amounts to a process of social learning in which communication between different levels of observation and behavior generates a form of intersubjective intimacy. Gregor Stemmrich

Yesterday /Today A video monitor in a public space displays a present-time view of the visual activities of a second, nearby room. This space is one having a characteristic presence in which the inhabitants’ daily activities follow a defined routine with rhythmic periodicity related to a specific time of the day, where people discuss ongoing activities (informing an ongoing chronicle), and which imposes a definite modification in role, or of consciousness, upon someone entering it. The visual scene on the monitor is accompanied by an audio playback of sounds, tape-recorded from the second room one day before, but at exactly the same time of the

day. Two time continua having a presumed same rate of forward flow, one sound and the other visual, can be observed separately or conjointly. The visual activities and the sounds may more or less phase rhythmically, overlap, or actually coincide. As the room is nearby, the spectator may directly enter its actual space if he desires. The installation may be repeated daily, indefinitely.

Notes on Yesterday/Today Whereas video by artists tends to emphasize the purely visual aspects of the medium, broadcast television would subordinate the visual image to the narration placed upon the image (expressed in vocal commentary and in the ordering of the visual sequences). In broadcast TV any dissociated or contradictory reading of the relation between the narrative

Dan Graham __ Yesterday/Today

and visual is suppressed, narrative interpretation being always dominant. An example of this is in news stories about Communist China using visual footage supplied by the Chinese, which, when shown, are “put in perspective” by the spoken words of the news commentator. Unlike film, where both sound and visual tracks are of necessity in the past and constructed from discontinuous segments, edited and reordered according to conventional rules of syntax, video (both visual and audio tracks) is assumed to correspond/be congruent to the real, present-time/space continuum, or the identical continuum from an

earlier time, shared by both the producers and receivers of the video. In video, unlike film, the sound and visual tracks are presumed to be different perceptual aspects of this space’s physical presence. In Yesterday/Today, as the visual image and the audio recording are 24 hours separated, the formal distinction between the aural and visual representations of a nearby space become evident. Similarly, the distinction between the real space and the representation of that space is made evident. As similar types of activities happen in the depicted space on a daily basis, the aural and the visual representations may nearly coincide; thus there are two ways to read their close, but not total identity: as due to the one-day time-delay in the sound or due to the difference between sound and video tracks as representation. As both the video image, the audio, the spectators, the real space documented one-day delayed and live, all share the same continuously forward flowing space/time, there is always a historical (real) relation between the present|time/space depicted on the monitor and the one-day delayed audio, as there is a relation|between the real space and the monitor image’s depiction of it, and between the audio documentation of yesterday’s spoken text and events observable in that space today. Yesterday/Today is representational and narrative. It is better read, not as immediate image, but over an extended time period. Itjis contextually related to the real (historical) (unpredictable) events of the particular spade, to the viewer’s relation to that space (and the institution it encloses), and the real

world environment; all these factors have a

bearing on the work’s “reading.” The obseryer must compare the narrative contained in the work with the actual events/place of the art (the gallery). Being grounded in real space and time, the verbal “soap opera” structure of Yesterday/Today contradicts the usually stressed visual, instantaneous, and silent comprehension of the visual art work. In Yesterday/Today the video/audio system historicizes the institutional space. This is contrary to the neutral, “timeless” quality implied by most architectural spaces. Historical reality depends upon the medium through which it is documented and re-presented. Video and audio can add an historical and sociological perspective to define the specific function of a space for those who use it. The spectator can follow yesterday’s story of a designated space by viewing it on the video monitor from the outside, listen to yesterday’s story, and then enter the real space, listening to, participating in the present-moment

dialogue (with a mental reference to yesterday’s dialogue). The pattern of the chosen quasi-public/quasi-private space is one which is basically invariant from day to day, although suggesting slight “development” or variation. A specific architectural space tends to be institutional; it structures the needs, roles, and responses that people who use it, have (that is, their roles tend to be influenced by the conventions, history, and present function of the space). Likewise, the space serves a

function in the larger social order. Thus Yesterday/Today is best read by those people who comprise the institution, by those who use the spaces it relates. If situated in an art gallery, the characters in its narrative are the art dealer, the art viewers, the artists, the critics, and the various people who service its needs.

72 |



Yesterday/Today 1975, video installation, dimensions variable Stedelijk van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven Installation views at Saman Gallery, Genova, May 1976

The monitor .and recording were placed in the gallery space; the camera and microphone were across an alley inside a bar frequented by both regular visitors to the gallery and general public.

In the John Gibson Gallery installation, the public exhibition area displayed the monitor and audio recording coming from the immediately adjacent semi-private/semi-public gallery director’s office. This outer office, whose door is usually kept open and accessible to the curious gallery visitor, is where real business takes place, as opposed to the purely public exhibition space where the monthly art exhibition is displayed. John and Susan Gibson, the proprietors working in this space (often visited by other people), negotiate with prospective customers, design future exhibitions, talk with artists and critics, view young artists’ slides of work, etc. ... The office space is reacted to somewhat differently by the “regulars” (“people in the business”) than by the more easily intimidated members of the general public. What is revealed in this space of the gallery, in distinction to what is hidden in the public gallery space, is the functional, social, and economic realities of the art gallery. For the Samangallery in Genova’s installation, the small single room of the gallery space, serving as both showroom and office, was used to display the monitor and audio recording of activity in a bar directly across|a small alley-way from the gallery entrance. This bar, like most bars in Italy, had a front entrance to the street and back entrance orientated to the grouping of businesses and residences to its rear (these are usually in a courtyard, but in this instance were dispersed along the small alley-way). Such a bar has the dual purpose of servicing both people from the neighboring streets and the businesses to its rear. The bar takes messages for these businesses when they are not open, serves them refreshments and snacks and becomes a convenient place to meet people during the

business hours outside of the constricted business interior. The installation at Galleria Banco in Brescia, recording the immediately adjacent office of Galleria Nuovi Strumenti, connected two ideologically dissimilar galleries. A single wall separated the spaces of the two art galleries. The galleries had wished to conceal their proximity (although members of each gallery were constantly visiting one another through the rear courtyard entrances) and interrelated business dealings. The installation made clear these hidden relationships of each to the other. The Art Gallery of Winnipeg installation recorded the activities of a cafe on the top floor. The cafe’s clientele were a general cross-section of the users of the museum: museum staff (discussing personal, bureaucratic, political, and practical problems; usually revolving around the preparation of exhibitions), local businessmen on a coffee or lunch break (discussing business, civic, and personal problems), local art lovers (discussing recent music, dance, and art events as well as financial support for cultural institutions) ... in other words, documenting what is normally on not expressed (because of the conventional meditative silence) in front of the artwork

display in the art museum. Dan Graham


Peter Weibel Observing Observation: Uncertainty 1973, closed circuit installation, dimensions variable

The Guard as Bandit


1978, closed circuit installation, dimensions variable

__ The Panoptic Society or Immortally in Love with Death :

2001, DVD

Peter Weibel’s 1973 closed circuit video installation Beobachtung der Beobachtung: _ Unbestimmtheit (Observing Observation: Uncertainty)’ is a complex epistemological model on the preconditions for slobal observation and the construction of reality. In this installation, Weibel also focuses on the social dimension of the medium of video/television, which has fundamentally transformed the structure of representation and with it the structure of society. The closed video circuit is a model of the mechanisms that prevail in a media-dominated society where anonymous and unlocalized observation enforces social compliance. Three video cameras and monitors are arranged alternately in a circle in the room. Facing towards the center, the cameras and monitors are switched in such a way that the spectator who enters the circle can constantly observe himself, though only from the back. As Peter Weibel writes: “Enclosed in a roo , each point in that room is its own prison warder, theLee isae ee fate.”ores idea of perspective enables Weibel to 2 _ Peter Weibel in Mediendichtung


Multi _ Video



locate the concept of “ interactivity” in an art istory context and at the same time create a

walk-in model that renders reality visible 4s something constructed. To quote Weibel _ again: Perspective always means |paxticipat ion. 2 For the illusory space of the three-dimensional representation to be able to emerge atall,‘artists have always had to rely on the spectator’s cognitive and physical participation. “Perspective as a constructive principle”: this is a model of reality that depends on the spectator’s active orientation. Once the latter enters the installation, he is at the mercy of the pictorial space Peter Weibel constructs by way of the media. The dependence of perspective on the spectator, on participation, turns out to be a form of subjugation. The spectator is a prisoner of perspective and thus a prisoner of a heteronymous access to reality. The title of this work explicitly alludes to Weibel’s epistemological approach, which goes beyond the perspective debate. The problem of observing the observer, which he already addressed in 1969 and 1972 in the installations Das Publikum als Exponat (The audience as exhibit)* and Video Lumina, is presented more precisely in the 1973 video Media 1, exhib. Gal ert JUD | installation and.atalmore abstract level that refers both to Heinz von Foerster’s and Lumina (co neeptf 1197 "Norbert Wiener’s ideas on cybernetics, and to the insights of quantum mechanics. Here too, as in the 1969 installation, the observing subject becomes the observed object. The observer

observes himself in his attempt to understand and steer the system of the closed circuit installation. In view of the fact that as an internal observer he is also part of the circular

arrangement, he unavoidably comes up against the limits of observation, i.e., the limits of self-observation. Only a second observer can recognize the blind spot of the first observer’s perception. Only at the level of cybernetics of a second order, the observation of observation as staged by Weibel, does it emerge that phenomena are relative to the observer.








Beobachtung der Beobachtung: Unbestimmtheit Observing Observation: Uncertainty 1973, closed circuit installation Generali Foundation, Vienna

With a view to observational operations in microphysics Werner Heisenberg analyzed the dependence of what is observed on the observer. His concept of “uncertainty”, which Publikum als Exponat, Weibel cites in this work, has to do with the fact that every observation, or measurement, The Audience as Exhibit represents an intervention to an uncertain degree. The observed object changes due to the 1969, videoperformance, act of observation. Weibel transfers the idea of “uncertainty” to the level of human installation Multi Media 1, Galerie Junge Generation, perception in everyday life. With his installation he has created an observation chain in Wien, April 1969 which the camera observes the observer, who in turn observes himself on the screen. The features of the observation apparatus, i.e., the features of the video system and of the Concept: 1972, human observer, determine the form of the reality. The distortion caused by the media, Realisation: 1977, which we “adjust” when looking in the mirror, is underscored by the coupling of the video installation Galerie Philomene video system. In principle, the degree to which reality is distorted remains uncertain. When such reflections on our knowledge of reality are applied to the social impact of the media, the question about reality becomes a question about the defining power over reality. Weibel has been preoccupied with the status of the feedback between perception, consciousness and media impacts since 1969. Whereas his Der Wachter als Bandit (The for democracy — “a supervision guard as bandit)° addressed the theme of the preconditions 6 _ Kunst als [nnovation, exhib. main branchof the Vienna Savings Bank, Vienna 1978 lation focuses on the meinsta 1973 of the supervisors, a control of the controllers”” — the Weibel in_Orwell und die Gegenwart, oo 20, Jahrhunderts, Vienna 1984. chanisms of adaptation in a society of the kind described in the early t980s by Gilles Deleuze in his concept of a “control society”. Much more so than the “disciplinary society” of Foucault, the “control society” is characterized by maximum self-regulation of individual and social behavior, which latter is oriented around the goals of the anonymous power of the economy. Heteronymous and self control become superimposed in the cameras behind your back, of which the spectator in Weibel’s installation sees the images on the monitors. An awareness of the paradoxical fact that no one except the observer himself perceives the data from the cameras still fails to eliminate the feeling of being

controlled. The feed-back based video system in which cause and effect are superimposed

Translated. from German by Pauline Cumbers

media becomes a model of the “control society”, whose members when confronted with it. defines who say can one no images of themselves endeavor to conform to a norm of which Margit Rosen

| 75

Peter Weibel _ The Guard as Bandit

The Guard as Bandit A monitor and a video camera were installed in the lobby of the main branch of the Savings Bank in Vienna. The video camera was directed at a surveillance camera so that the image of the camera could be seen on the monitor screen.

Der Wachter als Bandit The Guard as Bandit, 1978, close circuit installation

Photograph of the video installation during the exhibition Kunst als Innovation, main branch of the Vienna Savings Bank 1978 At the bank’s request the mesh stocking was removed for the photograph

As a result, the Savings Bank’s surveillance camera was itself filmed and supervised by my video camera. The monitor was covered in a mesh stocking, similar to those used by gangsters during bank robberies to hide their identity. My monitor, there fore, showed the Savings Bank camera wearing a mesh stocking, the “guard as bandit”, so to speak. The organ that observes You is itself being observed. You become aware of being constantly supervised, watched. Monitor is a term borrowed from the English and used to designate a ’television apparatus’; it also means warder, admonisher, overseer with punitive power, or as a verb, to supervise. The supervisory, controlling function of the video system (several cameras and monitors) in this bank lobby is rendered consciously visible through the control system installed by me (just one camera and one monitor). What also becomes evident is that this video system, which is supposed to warn against violence, itself has inherent aspects of violence. History provides us with ample terrifying examples of this relationship between guard and violence, control function and violence. By providing the monitor itself with a symbol of violence, namely, the anonymity provided by the mesh stocking, the anonymity of the violence of control is removed. The covert surveillance, the concealed threatening element of surveillance, becomes apparent. Observing the observer, supervising the supervisor, monitoring the monitor — a basic principle of democracy.

Peter Weibel, 1978




First published in Orwe//

und die Gegenwart, exhib. cat. Museum moderner Kunst, Vienna 1984, p, 177.

Translated from German by Pauline Cumbers

Peter Weibel __ The Panoptic Society or Immortally in Love with Death


The Panoptic Society or Immortally in Love ith Death , . : In his work The Panoptic Society or Immo} ally in Love with Death Peter Weibel creates a paradoxical scenario. The fictious prisoner turns the horror of his criminal existence into a public spectacle, thus acting as an accomplice to the surveillance tactics of the state. Weibel directs our view to the pathological side of the tele-media, whose jousting for audience attention produces visual excesse$ that leave escapism behind and elicit new obsessive-compulsive scenarios of control, x¢nophobia and sado-masochistic exploitation. The prisoner’s right to renounce the privacy even he can claim for himself and his disastrous situation is based on an ‘economy of attention’ dominant in the reality voyeurism of the entertainment industry and whose strategies are deployed ever-more aggressively in the infotainment offered by news media, in the staging of politics as theatre. Immediately upon entering the interactive work, the viewer is face-to-face with the visor of a surveillance camera. Weibel has chosen a technoid piece of equipment reminiscent of an iris scanner, the identifying device that reads ocular information in much the same way asa fingerprint. It represents the well-known notion of panoptic surveillance equipment based, in accordance with Jeremy Bentham’s scheme for efficient prison architecture, upon the idea that the prisoner should feel observed by somebody whose eyes, and whole appearance, remain invisible. It is sufficient to signal to the person on whom the camera is trained that the observer may very possibly be on the other side of the camera or behind the black pane of a window. The mere idea of another, effigy-like, person being able to look through a darkened pane or camera in order to inspect the room is sufficient reason to believe in the physical presence of a staring eye. Analogously with this basic panoptic observation strategy, the camera eye in Weibel’s constellation acts as an autistic authority that consumes the criminal and his atrocious acts without being expo-

The Panoptic Society

or Immortally in Love ith Death


sed to the associated danger or physical consequences. After activating the instrument of surveillance, the viewer is transported to a metaa bull plane of the panoptic system: the camera turns into the close-up view of an eye with ce to its terrier's head inscribed on its pupil. This shift from the technology of surveillan the blurs that meaning of ation transform a psychological dimension sets in motion


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conventional division of roles into observing authority and person observed, into perpetrator and victim, into warden and prisoner. It is now an ambiguous game of reciprocal desire and horror, of pleasure taken in fear, in contempt. When the follow-on image shows the identical canine head as a tattoo on the prisoner's bare chest, then the external and internal views merge. There is no longer a clear separation between the delinquent’s spheres — of existence and morality alike — and those of the invisible observer. Tattooed on the eye, the dog’s head illustrates the incorporation of the brutish, both on the murderer’s part as a symbol of his state of mind, and in regard to a collective vanishing point gazed upon by a general public that lies in wait, bloodhound-like, thirsty for sensations, for shocks. Weibel’s concept first presupposes the control instance of the eye as a model of discipline, then changes it into a thoroughly commercial system of surveillance and exhibitionism enticing the individual to voluntarily surrender the last vestiges of privacy and shame. By clicking on one of the tattoo symbols covering the prisoner’s torso, the user can enter the individual crime scenes that optically convey the various stages of cruelty and self-contempt passed through by the prisoner as actor of the collective subconscious and verbally allude to his motivation. In order to salvage his own social persona, the prisoner offers it up for public consumption. Like a special attraction in the theme park of the entertainment media, he exhibits his tattoos as emblems of his crimes, his life as a killer. Yet the visuals and sound refuse to tell the ‘real stories’: the close-up views of the crime scenes deflate the imagined horror. The relics of destruction and annihilation con-

vey scarcely more than the everyday garbage that accumulates in the niches of the subconscious. In the lines of text superimposed in police-report type, by contrast, the coldness and contempt of crime is profiled: a criminal who, alternating between the urge for death and desire for control, lives out his sexual desires through the total destruction of the social. In doing so, he successively anticipates the ‘pub(1)ic erasure of privacy’ finally achie-

de France, Paris 1986, pp. 11-26,

statements provokes the sense of the repulsive that unifies, in an aesthetic interplay of death and eroticism, of sexual lust and (self-) destructive fantasies, the most basic human

instincts with the capitalist maxims of the society of the masses.





The Panoptic Society

_or Immortally in Love aie:one

Weibel’s vision of the Panoptic Society hammers into our consciousness that a control economy under the conditions of our mediatized culture is however based on a ‘closed-

circuit dynamic’ in which person observed and observer reciprocally influence each other’s behaviour. The reason for the surveillance situation — be it security, exhibitionism,

voyeurism or calculated (self-)marketing — remains ambivalent. Crime Scene 1 tells us that ‘murderers in private prisons have high shareholder value in the economy of attention.’ It remains unclear whether this is the opinion of the criminal or that of the prison authorities. The provocative comments can be ascribed to various origins and characterize the participants as (inter)acting components in a system of reciprocally controlling instances. In the same way, the assertions in Crime Scene 2 (,My private pleasure is to control the privacy of others. Total privacy is total control of intimacy.‘) can be related to the perspectives both of observer and prisoner. Even if the prisoner is helplessly exposed to the camera eye, his ability to arouse and manipulate the consumerist delight taken in his depraved existence amounts to a residual autonomy. That the dialectic of such reciprocally reflective manipulation interests has a psychotic factor is unmistakably revealed when the tattoos jump from the prisoner‘s body onto the walls of the cell and transform the panoptic space into a claustrophobic pandemonium. The application of pictorial signs onto the ‘skin-ego”* unifies the aspect of body boundary with the communicative determination ies na 2000 (2 nd Angejer, body optiogs: Kérper Spuren. Medien. Bilder, Turia and Ke of the body surface, creating aparallel with he metaphor of ihe ‘magic writing padd’ that Freud used to illustrate the inscriptions and traces of perception and recollection into the layer of the subconscious. Analogously with|Freud’s characterization of the body, and in particular its surface, as a place from which external and internal perceptions may simultaneously emanate, Weibel labels the crimin ’s body as the actual venue of the media specs physical tacle.> On it, the tattoos form a metaphorical ‘second skin’ markin the body’ 3 _ Of. Sigmund Freud, 7 Ego and the_ld inde 1s. J Riviere, J.J Strachey (ed.), W. W. No rton, wrapping as the boundary of the ego and functioning a iso0 as an interface yetween a Criminal pathology and the voyeuristic interest we take in its bloodthirsty products. When the tattoos leap from the body onto the walls, abruptly turning the cell into a madman’s horror vacui, we become very aware of the blurring of the border between internal and external perception that occurs when the prisoner’s totally renounced self is taken over by anstated from G he mas


edition), p


New York 1960

the media Ursula Frohne

The Panoptic Society or Immortally in Love with Death 2001, DVD

| 79

Ira Schneider/Frank Gillette __ Wipe Cycle 1969, installation, nine monitors, camera, two videos, six recorders, tape recorder, automatic switch, 6o min

Wipe Cycle is a television mural designed to engage and integrate the viewer’s television “image” at three separate points in time and five exchanging points in space. Synchronized cycle patterns consisting of live and delayed feedback, broadcast television, and taped programming are developed through four (a, b, c, d) programmed pulse-signals every two, four, eight and sixteen seconds. Separately, each of the cycles acts as a layer of video information, while the four levels of information in concert determine the overall

composition of the work at a given moment. The intent of this overloading (something like a play within a play within a play) is to escape the automatic “information” experience of commercial television without totally divesting it of its usual content. Thus, the information on the programmed tapes juggles and re-combines elements within the gallery and its immediate environment with portraits, landscapes, montages, and video distortions. The soundtrack accompanying the composition serves to amplify the video imagery. It is structured so as to enhance further the sense of “information overload” and to provide sequential unity to the work. Frank Gillette

Wipe Circle 1969, installation view Howard Wise Gallery, New York





fon(09 a F-3|

City TV (Berlin) 1997-99, photographs color, each 23 x 15.57 Frank Thiel

| 137

Frank Thiel __ City TV (Berlin)

of Bentham’s Panopticon, the round prison building that enables a view into each and every cell, but protects the central cabin of the warder from sight by the prisoners, here, too, the presence of the camera likewise guarantees the desired behavioral norm, as no one can exclude there being an observer behind the rigid camera eye. No one can be sure whether someone is really watching the screen, but no one can exclude this, either.

Instead of encountering the omnipresent eye of Big Brother, in City TV (Berlin) we are confronted by any number of anonymous check points. Innumerable camera eyes follows us around the city. The omnipresent surveillance cameras is something with which





City TV 1999, photographs, color

installation, 101 parts, each 23 x 15.5” Frank Thiel

Translated from German by Jeremy Y



we are so familiar that we hardly notice them any longer during our everyday travels. Thiel shows how clever camera positioning can be — hardly perceptible to the casual passer-by. Surveillance has long since ceased to be the privilege of the state and countless observers have taken the place of Big Brother — companies and private individuals, who use the cameras

for personal protection or simpl for the joy of watching others — voyeurism for everybody.* [...1 the postModern

ant Pandptfcon moves beyond Bentham’s



rae tee

0 a postmodern m

seeing machines [...].” Lili Berko, Surveying the Surveilled; Video, of becoming the owners and operaters of the personal and professional Space, and Subjectivity, in Quarterly Review of Film and Video, 14, 1992, pp. 61-91

Sabine Himmelsbach

| 139

__ Cologne Frank Thiel__The Wall in Berlin Wedding, June 1990

Mauer in Berlin Wedding, Juni 1990 The Wall in Berlin

Watch Tower (A)

Wedding, June 1990 1990, photograph,

1990, photograph, black-and-white, 85.5 x 31°, from the series Berliner Mauer Frank Thiel

black-and-white, 8 x 2.3", from the series Berliner Mauer ZKM | Museum fiir Neue Kunst, Karlsruhe

Wachturm (A)





Koln Cologne 1992, from the series Gefangniswachttirme 5 photographs, black-and-white, each 83 x 69", and 95 x 66’, edition of 4 Courtesy Galeria Helga de Avelar, Madrid


Henry Colomer __ Optimum. Pioneers of our Brave World 2000, documentary video, black-and-white, sound, 55 min

“We were expected on Earth...” Walter Benjamin

Optimum explores the destinies of three nineteenth century British visionaries, who shared the credo that has become so familiar to us: Everything should be useful, all human resources should be optimized and made profitable. Jeremy Bentham, a jurist, Charles Babbage, an inventor, and Frabcis Galton, a statistician, invested their energies into a “zero error” concept applicable to all of society. Optimum retraces their lives, materializes their most audacious projects, notably by reconstituting via animation their wild inventions. In doing so, the film demonstrates that the dream of completely controlling human life can ironically turn into the darkest of fantasies.

The choice of characters What could Jeremy Bentham, Charles Babbage, and Francis Galton have in common? How can they be legitimately associated in alsingle story? Think they all share a certain number of distinctive traits: All three of them are philanthropists who are imbued with a sense of urgency as they throw all their strength into “optimizing” humanity’s potential. Yet, at the same time, none of them believe that individuals are equal. Therefore, the “optimization” they dream of does not challenge the existing social framework. Each of them devises schemes that are the most constraining and directive that can possibly be imagined, but none of these schemes ever calls into question the laws of the marketplace, the principles of profit and free competition. All three of them are convinced that this optimization can be achieved through a “scientific” approach to all social problems and issues: Through the accumulation and comparison of polls, calculations, tables, examinations, and tests, the best options and choices will become self-evident. Finally, they all share a common foil: the uncontrollable subproletariat that resists all investigations and reforms, the poorest of the poor, vagabonds, delinquents, and all those whom the Victorian age (with its obsessive fear) designated by the inimitable label “residuum.” This social “garbage,” this idle human residue is, in their minds, the absolute abomination. [...] This is the crux and the keystone of their story: the endlessly methodical and systematic reduction of social exchanges to a quantity, a quality which they expect to yield the definitive equation for universal harmony. |[...] Each of these men is like a medium that allows us to glimpse into the “beyond,” into the enchanted kingdom of his vision where every detail is meticulously and luxuriously enhanced as it would be in a stage extravaganza. We are placing ourselves in an imaginary projection of a perfect world. Henry Colomer

142 |



Reprint from the press release of Optimum.

Optimum. Pioneers of our Brave World 2000, documentary _ video, black-and-white, sound, 55 min Henry Colomer, courtesy Ideale Audience, Paris

| 143

Zoran Todorovic __ Sum (Noise) 1998/1999, video, black-and-white, sound, 23 min

The video work Sum (Noise) was recorded with a specially designed “visual messages recording device” left in three different locations: the Belgrade Plato square in front of the Faculty of Philosophy (during Summer and early Fall 1998); a Belgrade psychiatric hospital, more precisely, in the closed department where women patients are hospitalized on court decree; and the Sremska Mitrovica prison, where long-term pains are purged. The three stages define the three parts of the film, which itself was made, after applicable editing and censoring by authorities-in-charge of the database of recorded statements, stories and performances left by those who were willing to use this “open camera.” The device itself can be pictured as a hybrid of a security camera and a street instant-photoautomat. A security camera was mounted in a metal protective chest, equipped with a switcher allowing a fifteen second recording time. The passer-by could read the prompt “What is in your throat?” before pushing the button but was otherwise unable to find a device in any recognizable recording context offered, for instance, a TV camera, film camera, police surveillance camera, and the like. At the|same time, this meant that users of this device were compelled to contextualize its use themselves, i.e., to produce a context from which a story would be told, a show played, et¢. The film consists of three consecutive parts, each in accordance to the place the respective recordings were made. It seeks to explore to what degree and in which way different social positions influence the production of the context from which a person speaks. Obviously, the social map is more complex than that, and the number of possible positions could increase indefinitely. However, in each story told or face taped, we are able to recognize a broader social landscape from which the person originates. These three positions are therefore only taken as borderline situations or points of orientation from which the entire social field can be marked off. At the same time, this film does not pretend to represent the speech of different social groups, avoiding finding itself in the very position it is criticizing. This is an important point to understand, as it constitutes the very vehicle of this work, which is the problem of social representation, or, more precisely, the system of social representation was the external motivation, incitement and theme of this work. In the world as we know it today, the system of social representation is entirely determined by the state and/or other political or economical trusts, and we have a familiar system of mouthpieces, leaders, journalists, officials, representatives, and interpreters virtually taking over our living speech and speaking on our behalf. And the entire public, political, and media domain today functions according to this principle, which is a way to keep these domains under control. Capturing the live voices of different social groups, especially the ones commonly considered as marginal, deviate, etc., the usual system of representation and more precisely the concept of the representative (official interpreter, leader, journalist, expert, etc.) is addressed. This camera was designed for the very purpose of bypassing the usual connotations of a camera as instrument of public discourse, coded by the State and/or other political or economical centers of power, and thus motivated by this coding.

144 |


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There is also another issue addressed: in a specific media of its own, this work treats the problem of the inadvertent or incidental which is a topic I am dealing with in my work in general, and which is also an issue of the society of control, a society similar to the one we are all living in. Only, there are different motivations to this common interest. Thus, Noise does not pretend to represent but rather lets out a murmur into the coded system of social representation by offering each voice, including the most silenced one, the

itory. 1committed a crinte

Sum (Noise) 1998-99, videostills Zoran Todorovic

opportunity to be heard. Zoran Todorovic

| 145

Zoran Todorovic __ Sum (Noise)

Sum (Noise)

1998-99, videostills


When Clement Greenberg stated that for him the whole Duchampian legacy in art appears as a kind of a noise interrupting the transfer of the message of modernism, he made a perfect metaphor for the uncanny remainder constantly disturbing the paranoid visual economy of all retinal art by haunting it with its contingent and non-abstracted particularity. A noise, as non-coded, symbolically unarticulated sound, by its bare existence in the field which is to be unified in one message representing the cultural articulation of the universal, threatens to deprive the past |of the established discourse of its exclusive control over defining the parameters of the tniversal. In spatial terms, a noise comes to be interpreted as a non-place, a pure distance towards the retinaly controlled common space of modernist art, avoiding the dominant zone of visibility, of visual identification and therefare of strictly defined identity. Noise production could then be interpreted as production of empty signifiers breaking apart the firm synthesis of the multitude of representational sensations and pointing towards the lack of its positive transcendental grounding or to the ultimate impossibility of either full visual presentness or accurate representation. It breaks through the domesticating veneer of the image by cutting through the layers of sedimented perceptual practices which constitute the habitual ground for visual representation, pointing to the mere existence of the silenced and made invisible, not the part of the representational filed but the very limit of it in constituting itself. In social terms, a noise is the element interrupting the “voice of the master,” or the “voice of the people,” making problematic the whole system of adequate political representation based on the metaphysical promise inherent to the utopia of visual representation as liable to be rendered adequate to the represented without a reminder. It alludes to the existence of the non-articulated social agency not yet speaking with its own clear voice but also not wanting to join the acclaimed feature of the popular voice. The agency which is constantly silenced in its particularity yet undecided in itself, caught between the antagonism making it speechless in the dominant symbolic system and the decision to step out of “sound and fury” and act towards making its communitarian specificity, makes its way into the field of perception by the use of a noise or by producing waves of unarticulated disturbances on the screen-memory surface of the representative system, processing experiences of non-representable kind. Noise, as part of the title of Zoran Todorovic’s work, appears to point to a kind of randomized visual-identity, feature-streaming lab or some patchwork-identity facilitating device functioning through a master interface — the subjectifying gaze of the surveillance





Zoran Todorovic


ty ,

Sum (Noise) 1998-99, videostills Zoran Todorovic

camera — exposing oneself to it, constructing some image of oneself through the exposure to it. The actions recorded by the camera are based on realizing the phantasm of being able to give the camera what it really wants, to overdose it or to fulfill the desire projected onto the sterile gaze of the camera for the sake of generating one’s own desire. In that scope, what qualifies the performing characters as “marginal and deviate” is not so much their “actual” social belonging or position in the system expressed in a naturalistic way but more their response to the hailing gaze ofthe camera, which is not rendered by fearful confinement to one’s own structural position but mainly gets into the play with the device and the gaze of the master the camera represents. The rule of the game is to elude the semantic reach of the CCTV image, constructed for rendering the target in its focus into sign-bearer of certain communitarian belonging and to escape its effort to capture the subject in a web process of clear-cut social determinants. One of the main reasons for putting up the typical surveillance device, that was made to be used by those it visually scans and therefore made into their toy — like an instant street photo automaton — was to empower those deprived of recognition and the means to externalize themselves through deeds thereby forced into supporting some of the agents meant to represent them and relying on the image representing them. The whole setting was to play the role of the scenography for the enactment of different scripts of contesting role models potentially available for use in subject formation and involved in the act of linguistic positing, which then retroactively confer the necessity of the signified object through the visual signifier attached to it. The “noise production” process, accompanying the vast proliferation of acts reinterpreting different features of identity stereotypes, challenges the machine of symbolization to break up when not being able to maintain the unity that it is to produce, revealing under the surface of firm, socially acceptable (in positive or negative way) identities the “subject in process,” antagonized in itself, in

constant struggle with its own belongings and identifications. Stevan Vukoviee

| 147



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George Orwell 1984 Nineteen Eighty-Four Estate of Eric Blair, 1949 Facsimile edition Verlag Ullstein GmbH,

Frankfurt/M. 1984


Timothy Druckrey

__ Secreted Agents, Security Leaks, Immune Systems, Spore Wars ...

“We have reached those days when we can endure neither our vices or their remedies.” Livy on the fall of Rome “Americans ... need to watch what they say, watch what they do ...” White House spokesman Ari Fleischer

“We're all police now,” said one of the ubiquitous on-air pundits

assessing the aftermath

of the September 11

attacks to an audience






victims. And while the public is urged to resume

normalcy assured that the chances

of further attacks are 100%, what seems like the second wave of more insidious bio-terror strikes at fragile assumptions

of invulner-

ability across the globe.






visibility struck in a city already enveloped in ubiquitous news sky-cams, camera toting tourists, and a media with a prime view of the World Trade Center towers. Indeed as the second tower collapsed, most local broadcast





television was lost since the transmitters and antennas were atop the building. As the building disintegrated, the signal dissolved in a striking parallel to the Gulf War smart bombs. Terrorized television viewers were witnessing the differentiation of reality television (with its now banal rendering of artificial realities in formulaic circumstances) and reality on television (where traumatic shock waves reverberate in cold presence). The now tropish “surveillance” of Big Brother or Survivor-was immediately devastated by the intervention of unedited, unmediated, and unnarrativised live-feeds that unhinged the control mechanisms of a media industry compulsively driven by the management of information flows. Unscripted, the events of September 11 wrecked the logic in which the nearly passive gathering of imagery dominated and in which images became as tactical as the events they represented. As weaponized civilian airlines careened into the most potent symbols of military and economic might, millions were both victims and prisoners of a media sphere unprepared to conceptualize on-going event-horizons in which presence suggests a kind of unwitting complicity. Increasingly inhabited by a technical gaze, it comes as little surprise that the

panoptic metaphors of Bentham and Foucault have been re-invented in the technosphere in the guise of voyeuristic electronic “agents,” digital security systems, or SkyCam news networks surveying for crisis. Yet the sharply visualized panoptic space of contemporary culture is rapidly shifting towards a post-optic one in which observation is quickly giving way to information gathering systems, databases, and the monitoring of biological and chemical agents. Alongside hard-wired security cameras (as persuasive as they are dissimulated), monitors (as functional as they are narcissistic), the emerging systems outperform mere observation in establishing a collateral relationship between technical expertise

and in the implication of the subject as a no-way passive presence in a system of social regulation in which data collection — from flat-out panoptic monitoring to the emergence of biological and genetic surveillance — is mined for profiles. This profiling will doubtless link every sort of civil, medical, financial, or legal transaction into increasingly dense accumulations in which the discreteness of identity becomes embedded in the territorialization of the self in networks — the primary form of media culture. In this networked information sphere, identity itself becomes an interface, one that is coldly militarized in a distinct “upgrade” of the command and control strategies that haunted a generation subject to the witchhunts of the McCarthy era. It is an environment that is bleakly Orwellian, grimly Kafkaesque, it is an infosystem that targets by insidious invisibility, that thrives on secrets, on menacing covert procedures, and in which, as Richard Powers warned, “even the absence of data is incriminating.” And as a frenzied surveillance industry mobilizes to provide services across the board to an anxiety economy whose reluctance to dispense with constitutional guarantees of rights to privacy is now willingly abandoning constitutional guarantees like “no unreasonable” search or seizure. Ina moment of panicked un-reason, the conservative right’s skewed agenda of ‘government off our backs’ is decisively exposed as a hoax as they argue now for legislation that sunders civil liberties with breathtaking scope and covering everything from phone tapping and unlimited detentions to secret juries (cloaked behind vague National Security rationales) and nearly unquestionable policing powers just passed by an astonishingly acquiescent congress. The Machiavellian powers granted are decisively aimed at the eradication of due process, the so-called PATRIOT ACT (H.R.3162) was rocketed through a congress willing to extend sweeping police powers

| 151

Systems, Spore Wars ... Timothy Druckrey _ Secreted Agents, Security Leaks, Immune

for skepticism. After decades of pervasive = CCTV surveillance throughout Great Brit_ ain, Rosen queried a London Police Press —_ Officer: “Have you caught any terrorists? I asked. ‘No, not using this technology, no’ he _ replied.” Two “no’s” in one sentence! Hard—lya reasonable argument for universalized gaze increasingly welcomed as a symptom of containment and stability, even though _ its usefulness has largely proved futile. Rosen continues by citing a biometric system installed in a London Borough: “The public statements about the efficacy of the Newham facial-recognition system bear little relationship to its actual operaIL. Within hours after the attacks the mobi- _ tional capabilities, which are rather weak and poor,” says Clive Norris of the Univerlization of the surveillance industries was sity of Hull. “They want everyone to believe repercussions aiming itselfatthe profitable of what is quickly becoming ubiquitous | that they are potentially under scrutiny. Its paranoia. Visionics,a New Jerseycompany | effectiveness, perhaps, is based on a lie.” providing biometric technologies, “sent out | This dovetails with a question Rosen posed an e-mail message to reporters, announc- | to Atick: “But when I asked whether any of ing that its founder and C.E.O., Joseph | the existing biometric databases in England Atick, ‘has been speaking worldwide about T or America are limited to suspected terrorthe need for biometric systems to catch | ists, Atick confessed that they aren’t. There known terrorists and wanted criminals. rl is a simple reason for this: few terrorists TaleWithin for< Age of Surveillance, in New York Times, Within weeks Atick was testifying before | are suspected in advance of their crimes.” * an enthusiastic congress proposing systems Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport is already with astonishing coverage for airports, piloting an iris recognition plan called Pripublic buildings, public spaces, etc. Along —_vium that will store the “image of the iris ... with the gruesome epithets that emerged —_ converted into a digital code ... That code is from the militarized PR campaign that stored on a chip on a single smart card, began as the tactless “infinite justice” that | which is given to the individual ... There is became, after much criticism, “enduring _ no database, no server storing this inforfreedom,” Atick proposed “Operation mation... This is how we solved the privacy Noble Shield.” He described this systemto issue in the Netherlands. Other people do Jeffrey Rosen, writing for the NY Times, __ it differently, but here people were consaying, “we need to create aninvisiblefence, cerned about protecting the data” (accordan invisible shield.” “Noble” and “invisiing to Max Snijder manager of Enschede ble,” Atick’s “biometric network platform” Security Solutions). ; would hardly be acceptable to privacy adBeyond the unrelenting deprivatization (as the title of the document outlines) to “deter and punish terrorist acts in the United States and around the world, to enhance law enforcement investigatory tools, and for other purposes.” The sections ofthe act come as chillingly named “enhanced surveillance procedures” that adapt existing laws in fields such as “roving surveillance,” “long-arm jurisdiction,” “extraterritorial jurisdiction,” “foreign student monitoring,” the “development and support of cybersecurity forensic capabilities,”“DNA identification,” the list goes on and on.

1 _ Jeffrey Rosen, A Cautionary




open source advocates, network

of the public sphere, the drive to establish

security administrators, and perhapseven _ citizen databases is also re-emerging. to the broad public as the evidence for the | Oracle Corporation’s CEO Larry Ellison very thin success of social surveillance has _ has proposed contributing the software for been widely discussed. Rosen’s New York __ the creation of National Identity cards Times essay A Cautionary Tale fora New (“maintenance and upgrades won’t be Age of Surveillance provides ample reason _free.”) “‘We are in the process of putting a




2 Rien ee

oe eee

proposal together and analyzing what it would take to get something running in a matter of a small number of months, like three months, go days ... I think 99.99 percent of Americans will want these ID cards,” Ellison said. ‘Wouldn’t you feel better if everyone who walked into an airport showed their ID card and put their thumb in the scanner and you knew they were who they said they were?’” A striking proposal already embraced by the administration and even by Advocates for’strong constitutional protections. “Harvard lawyer [Alan] Dershowitz said he believes having an ID card would reduce racial profiling at airports.” And in an astonishing remark said “Four Arab-looking guys reading the Koran are much less suspicious if they have the cards and can just slash them through «card readers.”* The, San Jose Mercury,News, 17 October 2001 Last year’s ‘Superbowl already featured the presence of Visage technology’s “faceFINDER’ software (widely used by immigration, casinos, and prisons). Every attendee

_ Miran Bozovic,

#995, Pp: 21


entering the gates of the event was captured (without notification or permission) by an array of cameras. Faces were isolated and entered into a database comparing facial features numerically against an ‘eigenface’ and searching for “similar or matching” features with criminal data bases. Under the rubric of security, in which invisibility is a self-deception, in which vulnerability is implicit, and in which passivity is expected, the unremitting erosion of individual privacy came ‘face-to-face’ with a technical apparatus proposing identity as statistical - much like the systems of Galton in the nineteenth century. As Miran Bozovic writes in his introduction to Bentham’s Panopticon Letters, a gaze “that cannot be pinned down to any particular bearer tends to acquire exceptional powers. a in Jeremy Bentham, The Panopticon Letter, The. New York The Truman is was one subtext of flaindustry culture the Show, in which grantly exposed itself as a purveyor of lies (narrative and social) and yet barely

creates a discourse of a media culture that eradicates the lines between command and control, information and entertainment, and identity and omnipotence. In terms of Truman’s predicament, Alison McMahan suggests that “the subjective stance here is one of agentless perception: though the show is run by its creator, Christof, and watched by millions, it could also be said to be controlled by none. The gaze of those cameras has grown into an institution unto

itself. ... Our fear of agentless perception is an outgrowth of the classic horror genre fear that we will turn into machines. Here the technology that terrifies is that of telepresence, those twenty-four hour cameras that film a beach scene or a young woman’s pee and broadcast it live on the Internet.”° Truman inhabits an oe n Film-Philosophy, of unrelenting false-consciousness and in unwitting submission to omnipresent sur-

vol. 3, Number June

24, 1999,

veillance, a symbolic ‘universe’ devoid of other than tactical significance and repetition. Indeed, in these terms, The Truman Show is also the ‘Truman’ Test, a social Turing Test developed to problematize the boundaries not just between the machine and person, but to test the increasingly technical derealization of the relationship between subjectivity and subjection. As Paul Virilio writes, “the development of the future tools of mass communication (audiovisual, computers .. .) will soon help to promote, with the art of commanding at a distance, an art of a sort of socio-political cybernetics against which no lasting resistance will be able to be organized since the very nature of the tele-technologies of the screen opposes storage as memory and so any sharing of thought ... The art of remote control being of the order of the conditioned reflex but never of any

shared democratic ‘wisdom’.”’ 7 _ Paul Virilio, The Media Coup de Etat, in La Monde Diplomatique, 1 May 1994.


Yet while the existing and proposed surveillance strategies focus on physical threats, on tracking, identity profiling,

| 153

Timothy Druckrey__ Secreted Agents, Security Leaks, Immune Systems, Spore Wars ...

data-mining, and on providing prophylactic “shields” that identify threats to material culture, an invisible spectacle now proliferates in the bacteriological form of “weapons-grade” anthrax laced letter “bombs” circulating in one of most ancient systems of distribution, the mail (that will now be routinely irradiated to kill bacteria). Panicked postal workers and citizens are reeling in the epidemiological possibilities as they grapple with the disparity between the social contagion of terror and the individual terror of contagion. The “spore war” (as a Washington Post editorial called it) creates its spectacle in reverse, in which

8 _ Bruce Shapiro, in The Nation,



direct contact becomes an effect of transmission “surveilled” only forensically, as an aftereffect of dispersion. Not (to use a loaded term) communicable (ifthe culprit is anthrax), it is a spectacle of contagion that evolves outside of visibility. Instead of the agents of terror (whose faces are now plastered onto wanted posters), what is delivered is the terror of agents — contagious panic. Clearly the spectre of what is essentially preemptively unsurveillable proliferates not in the traceable residue of credit card histories, forensic e-mail mining, or the infiltration of the terror networks, but in what will become bio-detectors, genetic profiles, a bio-technics that will “sense” the peril of the imperceptible. To this end, as Bruce Shapiro writes, “the people sending those envelopes know what they’re doing: infecting first the media, the retinal nerve of democratic perception, before turning to the pols. A nervous press means a nervous public,”® 5 Sell 2001 Surveillance, in this sense will be as omnipresent as it is omnivorous, operating on a sphere in which gathering, sampling, and identification will focus on a molecular information, disease transmission profiles, genetic predispositions, agents, and identities that are outside superficial panoptic observation or biometric verification. Already proposals for “tissue-based biodetectors” are emerging. These would link small amounts of human tissue to detectors


that would “sense” bacteria in a small reflex to “foreign” substances and issue an alert. Essentially a cellular surveillance device, it would join a range of nerve, chemical.and biological detectors developed for military use, including the Biological Integrated Detection System (BIDS) that identifies specific antibodies and triggers potentiometric silicon sensors, Chemical Agent Monitors (CAM), Smart™ detector tickets that use reagents and immunochemistry in small kits that provides results in minutes. While thousands of relatives in NY lined up to contribute samples to the genetic databases that will provide, in thousands of cases, the only identifiable remnants of surety about the individuals crushed in the collapse of the towers, the panic necessity abandoned any reflection about the longterm social consequences of DNA reference databases. Of course the extreme temperatures at the crash points and extraordinary collapse has left bodies dismembered and pulverized to the point, as forensic biologist Mark Stolorow suggests that “all organic materials turn to ash. You have no DNA — it’s gone.” DNA identification in a mountain of fragments becomes a filtering process in which “samples” are tested only if they are above threshold weights for, as Victor Weedn of the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory suggests, “you just can’t DNA-test every drop of blood.” John Seabrook’s short essay In the Rubble concludes saying “Modern Science, in giving us the means to assign identity to the tiniest fragments of flesh, turns us all into Trojans begging Achilles to return Hector’s corpse. We continue to come up

with ever more ingenious ways to transcend the limits of the flesh, from videocon-

ferencing to Viagra, but we cling to the ancient almost primal need for a body to bury when life ends.” ° John Seabrook, In the Rubble, in The Ne w Despite all the aura of “universality” that surrounds genetic research, the questioning of its cultural effect is often lost in the haze. Yet the metaphors abound in the


1 October 2001; p. 40.

languages of the viral and eco and network. Indeed, the collapsing border between physical science and genetic science suggests that systems ideology establishes a kind of unified field in which the so-called “universal” language of molecular or genetic technology operates as the software in a distinctly mechanical world. Scientific practice becomes, in this environment, more

instrumental than analytical, more operational than observational, and more engaged in engineering than epistemology. But the complex issue of scientific systems thinking aside, the dispersal of genetic metaphors into profiling, genealogy, social criticism, economics, politics, philosophy, even media art, is well underway. Though manifested on many fronts, several recent events and publications bear some scrutiny. The first is the military court martial of now ex-marines Joseph Vlacovsky and John Mayfield. Both refused to provide samples of their DNA to the Department of Defense’s DNA registry without sufficient reason. In essence, they became genetic conscientious objectors to a policy of collection that holds one of the largest pools of DNA in the world. Rationalized by the military authorities as a reliable identification system, the DNA samples are held for 75 years, obviously far longer than the active military term of most soldiers. Vlacovsky and Mayfield’s court marshall trial was defended in two ways. First on the basis of the fourth amendment that prohibits “unreasonable searches,” and second on the basis of the Nuremberg Codes established after Nazi experiments on human subjects. The unequivocal principle of the code is: “the voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential.” Considering the privatization of military R&D, there is, according to Bruce Chadwin (writing in the Village Voice) “no legal precedent to stop the military from converting the DNA samples to commercially profitable uses.” Aside from this, the DNA information could invisibly affect everything from future job applications to

the rejection of insurance based on what has been called “asymptomatic illness,” that is, the genetic potential to illness. And to think that the innocent military use of DNA is shallow and well-meaning, remember that it was this same military that distributed sun glasses to the troops watching the explosion of atomic bombs, that covertly experimented with LSD, sprayed field soldiers in Vietnam with agent orange, and “immunized” gulf war troops with potentially dangerous anti-chemical weapon drugs — including a largely unproven vaccine for anthrax. Though the Vlacovsky and Mayfield case is a symptom of the challenge of DNA registries and their potential uses, the establishment of a country-wide genetic database in Iceland provides a case study in big science. More than an extraordinary nation-

al genetic database linked with a remarkably stable population, a passion for genealogy, “meticulous medical records,” and virtual isolation from immigration, the Minister of Finance joined it directly with the Icelandic economy in a lecture Iceland’s new economy, from telecoms to genetics. (Gier H. Haarde Minister of Finance, Iceland, 16 November 2000) Indeed the drive to profit (in both medical and economic terms) on genetics is obviously not limited to the sequencing itself, but to a range of possibilities in which economies of information trump economies of production. The decision by the Icelandic parliament to “award” the management of the database to decobE Genetics that would have “an exclusive licence to build a database of Iceland’s medical records (including diagnoses and test results, treatments, and side effects) and will be able to combine and analyse these with genetic and genealogical data. The act also grants decope exclusive rights to commercial erosion for the database for twelve years.”"° With this staggering One ae Chadwick,

The Icelandic database

- do modern

pact in place decoDE made a sub-contract _ sh Journal of Medicine, vo

with Swiss Hoffman-La Roche to produce diagnostic tests and drug therapies that

times need modern sagas’,


Timothy Druckrey__ Secreted Agents, Security Leaks, Immune Systems, Spore Wars ...

might emerge from the database mining (that already includes nearly the entire population that ever lived in Iceland). In return Hoffman La Roche will provide these free to Icelanders. “No other country,” writes

11 _ Michael Specter, Decoding Linz 1999, p. 60.

12 _ Hillary Rose,

Michael Specter in Decoding Iceland, and certainly no other private company — has ever tried to collect, store, Cae and sell a nation’s genetic heritage.” ‘Another Iceland,in Lifesciences, Gerfried St s Electronica study, Hillary Rose’s, tightly suggests ‘that this “commodification process in Iceland demonstrates the fusion of the two huge technosciences of the twenty-first century — biotechnology and informatics, creating . One at : 12 a new commodity — bioinformation.”

The Commodification of Bioinfarmation:

The Icelant

lth Sector

Bio-Informatics is, fdeed the essential

ase, The Wellcome Trust , Lone don 200

issue inand for the development of extraordinary databases rationalized as primarily investigative and instrumental for positive medical purposes. These will teeter between an increasingly porous distinction between privacy and confidentiality, an issue that surely connects the visible and bio-metric databases of ‘secure’ surveillance with profiling that could build reductive genealogies that formulate the notion of citizens in systemic, performative, and symptomatic forms with far-reaching implications for predatory surveillance systems framed under the rubric of research. Considering the enormous profit motive enveloping genetic information, this data seems bound to migrate from the biomedical to the social spheres as extra-judicial license will demand that information be omnipresent. Enframed by scopic and micro-scopic tracking systems, citizenship will be subject to forms of verification whose breadth will extend beyond one’s transactions in the world and into social epidemiologies with deep roots in the perverse history of eugenics. Surely the debate about DNA registry raises the spectre of what might be called the science of eugenetics, a subtle version of the more perverse manifestations of race theory and Superiority and whose effects establish the foundations of “normalcy” not in the





physical them. The perhaps stood as become

being but in the code that operates image, the passport, the license, even the fingerprint, long underlegal forms of identification, have obsolete and are being replaced

with biometrics, genetic markers, retinal

scanning — technologies that pose identity as encoded in systems of measurement, in technologized forms of info-profiling, in reductive and elaborate systems that demolish identity as anything more than the accumulation of data —a technical individuality enmeshed in networks of tracking now driven by the imperatives of presumptive suspicion. This form of electronic and biological repressive tolerance eradicates personal liberty in favor of an assumed public good. Joined with the terrible consequences of biological terror, the hunt for secretions, the detection of pathogens, the pursuit of contagion which form the foundation for systems of surveillance themselves become epidemic. Conclusion ... “With the New York bomb, we thus find ourselves faced with one last extreme escalation of the kind of military-political action that is based simultaneously on a limited number of actors and guaranteed media coverage. It has actually reached a point where soon, if we don’t look out, a single man may well be able to bring about disasters that were once, not long ago, the province of a naval or air force squadron ... Indeed, for some little time, the miniaturization of charges, as well as chemical advances in the detonation of explosives have been promoting a previously unimaginable equation: ONE MAN = A TOTAL WAR ... After the age of the balance of terror, which has lasted some forty years, the age of imbalance is now uponus.2°2 13

Paul Virijio, The

Media Coup de

Etat, in_La Monde Diplomatique,

Virilio wrote the a ove just after the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993. In the aftermath of that attack (and

1 May 1994

the subsequent ones in Oklahoma City, Kenya, Bombay...), public buildings were surrounded with barriers, heightened security procedures, and a proliferating optical surveillance, an environment in which security could be sustained in the threat of an apprehension of being visible and thus vulnerable. This logic has been shattered by the cunning to exploit visibil-

ity as a catalyst for torment, to seize, as Adilkno once suggested, the “society of the

debacle” as the terrain of terror. Add to this the drift from cold war to infowar to cyberwar to biowar and the domain of terror encompasses a diabolical presence to be countered with surveillance technologies that themselves become as viral as those they survey.

| 157

Duncan Campbell

__ Inside Echelon: The History, Structure, and Function of the Global

Surveillance System Known as Echelon Echelon is a system used by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) to intercept and process


passing via communications

communications satellites.

It Is

one part of a global surveillance system that is now over fifty years ag Other parts of the Same



intercept messages

from the

from Undersea cabtes, from


transmissions, from secret equipment installed

inside embassies, or use orbiting satellites to monitor






surface. The system includes stations run by Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand,

in addition to those operated by the United States. Although some Australian and British Stations do the same job as America’s Echelon sites, they are not necessarily called Echelon

Stations. But they all form part of the same integrated global network using the same equipment and methods to extract information 158




Manwith Hill

and intelligence illicitly from millions of messages every day, all over the world. The first reports about Echelon in

Europe’ credited it with the capacity to 1 _ Dr. Steve Wright, An appraisal af technolog es of political control, Report



“within Europe,

Parliament Scientific and Technologigal Options office (STOA),

UK, January 1998.


for the


e-mail, tele-

Omega Foundation, Manchester,

phone, and fax communications.” This has proven to be erroneous; neither Echelon nor the signals intelligence (sigint) system of which it is part can do this. Nor is equipment available with the capacity to process and recognize the content of every speech message or telephone call. But the American and British-run network can, with sister stations, access and process most of the worlds’ satellite communications, automatically analyzing and relaying it to customers who may be continents away. The world’s most secret electronic surveillance system’ has its main origin in the conflicts of the World War IH. In a deeper sense, it results from the invention of radio and the fundamental nature of telecommunications. The creation of radio permitted governments and other communicators to pass messages to receivers over transcontinental distances. But there was a penalty — anyone else could listen in. Previously, written messages were physically secure (unless the courier carrying them was ambushed, or a spy compromised communications). The invention of radio thus created new importance for

cryptography, the art and science of making secret codes. It also led to the business of signals intelligence, now an industrial scale activity. Although the largest surveillance network is run by the US NSA, it is far from alone. Russia, China, France, and other nations operate worldwide networks. Dozens of advanced nations use sigint as a key source of intelligence. Even smaller European nations such as Denmark,


the Netherlands,


have recently constructed

small, Echelon-like stations to obtain and

process intelligence by eavesdropping on civil satellite communications. During the twentieth century, governments realized the importance of effective secret codes. But they were often far from successful. During World War II, huge allied codebreaking establishments in Britain and America analyzed and read hundreds of thousands of German and Japanese signals. What they did and how they did it remained a closely-guarded secret for decades afterwards. In the intervening period, the US and British sigint agencies, NSA and Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ)

constructed their worldwide listening network. The system was established under a secret 1947 “UKUSA Agreement,” which

| 159

Duncan Campbell__ Inside Echelon

brought together the British and American systems, personnel and stations. To this was soon joined the networks of three British commonwealth countries, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Later, other countries including Norway, Denmark, Germany, and Turkey signed secret sigint agreements with the United States and became “third party” participants in the UKUSA network. Besides integrating their stations, each country appoints senior officials to work as liaison staff at the others’ headquarters. The United States operates a Special US

Liaison Office (SUSLO) in London and Cheltenham, while a SUKLO official from GCHQ has his own suite of offices inside NSA headquarters at Fort Meade, between Washington and Baltimore. Under the “UKUSA agreement,” the five main English-speaking countries took responsibility for overseeing surveillance in different parts of the globe.” Britain’s 2 _ The arrangements are sometimes called TEXTA ac 10, ahs

zone include

and for “Technical Extracts

rica and

of Traffic Analysis” and is in effect a yoluminous listing of every ee

e Ural Mountains of

Europe, east to

cations source identified

the former USSR;

by each agency. It is catalogued and sorted by countries, us

anada covered northern latitudes anc

system, and other features.

polar regions; Australia covered Oceania. The agreement prescribed common procedures, targets, equipment, and methods that the sigint agencies would use. Among them were international regulations for

sigint security,’ which required that before

3 _ Called IRSIG.

anyone was admitted to knowledge of the arrangements for obtaining and handling sigint, they must first undertake a lifelong commitment to secrecy. Every individual joining a UKUSA sigint organization must be “indoctrinated” and, often “re-indoctrinated” each time they are admitted to knowledge of a specific project. They are told only what they “need to know,” and that the need for total secrecy about their work “never ceases.” Everything produced in the sigint organizations is marked by hundreds of special codewords that “compartmentalize” knowledge of intercepted communications and the systems used to intercept





them. The basic level, which is effectively a higher classification than “Top Secret” is “Top Secret Umbra.” More highly classified documents are identified as “Umbra Gamma’; other codewords can be added to restrict circulation still further. Less sensitive information, such as analyses of telecommunications traffic, may be classified “Secret Spoke.”

The scale and significance of the global surveillance system has been transformed since 1980. The arrival of low cost wideband international communications has created a wired world. But few people are aware that the first global wide area network (WAN) was not the Internet, but the international network connecting sigint stations and processing centers. The net-

work is connected over transoceanic cables and space links. Most of the capacity of the American and British military communications satellites, Milstar and Skynet, is devoted to relaying intelligence information. It was not until the mid 1990s that the public Internet became larger than the secret Internet that connects surveillance stations. Britain’s sigint agency GCHQ

now openly boasts on its web site* that it helps operate “one of the largest WANs (Wide Area Networks) in the world” and that “all GCHQ systems are linked together on the largest LAN in Europe ... connected to other sites around the world.” The same pages also claim that “the immense size and sheer power of GCHQ’s supercomputing architecture is difficult

4 _ http://www.gchq.gov.uk/,

to imagine.”

The UKUSA alliance’s wide area network is engineered according to the same principles as the Internet,” and provides access from all field interception stations to and from NSA’s central computer system, known as Platform. Other parts of the system are known as Embroidery, Tideway, and Oceanfront. The intelligence news network is Newsdealer. A TV conference system, highly encrypted like every other part of the network, is called Gigster.

Control Protocol/Internet Protocol.

They are supported by applications known as Preppy and Droopy. NSA’s e-mail system looks and feels like everybody else’s e-mail, but is completely separate from the public network. Messages addressed to its secret internal Internet address, which is simply “nsa,” will not get through. The delivery of NSA intelligence also now looks and feels like using the Internet. Authorized users with appropriate permission to access “Special Compartmented SCI, also known required.


Cal y secure




apply to offices in which’SCl

7 _ The US intelligence intrahet


the output of NSA’s

is neat

Operations Department

jagne tically shielded.

Intelligence Built Intelink — the

jnte ligence for which codeword

browsers to look at

regulations also 1d electroir

Intelligence”® use standard web

Intelligence,” is secret

ft hey mugt be :

from afar.


These offices are known as SCIFs (SCI Facilities), system, known as Intelink, 1s run trom

the NSA’s Fort Meade HQ. Completed in 1996, Intelink connects thirteen different US intelligence agencies and some allied agencies with the aim of providing instant access to all types of intelligence information. Just like logging onto the world wide web, intelligence analysts and military personnel can view an atlas on Intelink’s home page, and then click on any country they choose in order to access intelligence reports, video clips, satellite photos, databases and status reports.” is described in: Frederick Martin, Top Secret Intranet: How U.S. In the early post war years, and for the world's largest, most secure network, Prentice Hall, 1999. next quarter century, there was little sign of this automation or sophistication. In those years, most of the world’s long distance communications — civil, military, or diplomatic — passed by high frequency radio. NSA and its collaborators operated hundreds of remote interception sites, both surrounding the Soviet Union and China and scattered around the world. Inside windowless buildings, teams of intercept operators passed long shifts listening into silence interspersed with sudden periods of frenetic activity. For the listening bases on the front line of the cold war, monitoring military radio messages during the cold war brought considerable stress. Operators at such bases often recall colleagues breaking down under the tension, perhaps fleeing into closets after believing that they had just intercepted a

message marking the beginning of global thermonuclear war. World War II left Britain’s agency GCHQ with an extensive network of sigint outposts.

Many were

fixed in Britain,

while others were scattered around the then Empire. From stations including Bermuda, Ascension, Cyprus, Gibraltar, Iraq, Singapore, and Hong Kong, radio operators tracked Soviet and, soon, Chinese political and military developments. These stations complemented a US network, which by 1960 included thousands of continuously operated interception positions. The other members of the UKUSA alliance, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand contributed stations in the South Pacific and arctic regions. After the signing of the UKUSA pact, a new chain of stations began operating along the boundaries of the western sphere of influence, monitoring the signals of Soviet ground and air forces. British sigint outposts were established in Germany and, secretly in Austria and Iran. US listening posts were set up in central and southern Germany and later in Turkey, Italy, and Spain. One major US sigint base — Kagnew Station at Asmara in Eritrea —

was taken over from the British in 1941 and grew to become, until its closure in 1970, one of the largest intercept stations in the world. One of its more spectacular features was a tracking dish used to pass messages to the United States by reflecting them off the surface of the moon. By the mid 1960s, many of these bases featured gigantic antenna systems that could monitor every HF (High Frequency) radio message, from all angles, while simultaneously obtaining bearings that could enable the position of a transmitter to be located. Both the US Navy and the US Air Force employed global networks of this kind. The US Air Force installed five hundred meter wide arrays known as FLR-9

at sites



England, San Vito dei Normanni in Italy,

| 161

Duncan Campbell __ Inside Echelon

Karamursel in Turkey, the Philippines, and at Misawa, Japan. Code-named “Iron Horse,” the first FLR-9 stations came into operation in 1964. The US Navy established similar bases in the US and at Rota, Spain; Bremerhaven, Germany; Edzell, Scotland; Guam, and later in Puerto Rico, targeted on Cuba. When the United States went to war in Vietnam, Australian and New Zealand operators in Singapore, Australia and elsewhere worked directly in support of the war. Britain, as a neutral country, was not

stations. Some ILC circuits were rented to

governments or large companies as permanent links. The majority was used for public telegraph, telex, or telephone services. Many details of the operation of the English-speaking sigint axis were revealed by two NSA defectors at a press conference held in Moscow on 6 September 1960. There, two NSA analysts, Bernon Mitchell and William Martin, told the world what NSA was doing: “We know from working at NSA [that] the United States reads the secret communications of more than forty nations, including its own allies ... NSA keeps in operation more than 2,000 manual intercept positions ... Both enciphered and plain text communications are monitored

supposed to be involved. In practice, however, British operators at the GCHQ intercept station no UKC201 at Little Sai Wan, Hong Kong, monitored and reported from almost every nation in the world, on the North Vietnamese air defense including the nations on whose soil the networks while US B52 bombers attacked .QR8_ New intercept bases are located.”® A Hanoi and other North Vietnamese targets. ns reported in fullin were revelatio The Since the end of the cold war, the histhe US, but their impact was soon buried tory of some cold war signals intelligence operations have been declassified. At the | by security recriminations and accusations. US National Cryptologic Museum, run by | Martin and Mitchell revealed that NSA’s operations division included two NSA at its headquarters, the agency now key groups. One group covered the Soviet openly acknowledges many of its cold war Union and its allies. The second analysis listening operations. It also describes the division was known as ALLO, standing for controversial use of ships and aircraft to “all other [countries].” This part of NSA’s penetrate or provoke military defenses in production organization was later reoperations that cost the lives of more than named ROW, starting for “Rest of the one hundred of its staff. But another longWorld.” standing aspect of sigint operations remains unacknowledged. During World Thus, in 1965, while intercept opeWar II as well as in the Cold War and rators at the NSA’s Chicksands station in since, British and US intelligence agencies England focussed on the radio messages of monitored the signals and broke the codes Warsaw Pact air forces, their colleagues of allies and friends, as well as of civilians two hundred kilometers north at Kirkand commercial communications around newton, Scotland were covering ILC traffic, the world. The diplomatic communications including commercially run radio links of every country were and are attacked. between major European cities. These netThe stations and methods were the works could carry anything from birthday same as for military targets. Within the telegrams to detailed economic or comintelligence agencies, the civilian target mercial information exchanged by comwas known as ILC. ILC stood for Interpanies, to encrypted diplomatic messages. national Leased Carrier, and referred to the In the intercept rooms, machines tuned private companies or telecommunications to transmission channels continuously administrations operating or administratspewed out 8-ply paper to be read and ing long-range undersea cables or radio marked up by intelligence analysts.





Vey Yo

Danish Interception Station

Around the world, thousands of analysts worked on these mostly unencrypted communications using NSA “watch lists” — weekly key word lists of people, companies, commodities of interest for the NSA watchers to single out from “clear” traffic. Coded messages were passed on immediately. Among the regular names on the watch lists were the leaders of African guerrilla movernents who were later to become their countries’ leaders. In time, many prominent Americans were added to the list. The international communications of the actress Jane Fonda, Dr. Benjamin Spock and hundreds of others were put under surveillance because of their opposition to the war in Vietnam. Black power leader Eldridge Cleaver and

his colleagues were included because of their civil rights activities in the US. A short distance to the north at Cupar,

Scotland, another intercept station was operated by the British Post Office, and masqueraded as a long distance radio station. In fact, it was another GCHQ interception site, which collected European countries’ communications, instead of sending them. In time, these operations were inte-

grated. In 1976, NSA set up a special new civilian unit at its Chicksands base to carry out diplomatic and civilian interception. The unit, called DODJOCC (Department

of Defense Joint Operations Center Chicksands) was targeted on non-US Diplomatic Communications, known as NDC. One specific target, known as FRD, stood for French diplomatic traffic. Italian diplomatic signals, known similarly as ITD, were collected and broken by NSA’s counterpart agency GCHQ, at its Cheltenham center. Entering Chicksands’ Building 600 through double security fences and a turnstile where green and purple clearance badges were checked, the visitor would first encounter a sigint in-joke — a copy of the International Telecommunications Convention pasted up on the wall. Article 22 of the Convention, which both the United Kingdom and the United States have ratified, promises that member states “agree to take all possible measures, compatible with the system of telecommunication used, with a view to ensuring the secrecy of international correspondence.” Besides intercepting ILC communications at radio stations, NSA, GCHQ, and their counterparts also collected printed copies of all international telegrams from public and commercial operators in London, New York, and other centers. They were then taken to sigint analysts and processed in the same way as foreign tele-

grams snatched from the air at sites like Chicksands and Kirknewton. Britain had done this since 1920, and the United

| 163

Duncan Campbell_ Inside Echelon

States since 1945. The joint program was

lists” had begun to be replaced by auto-

known as Operation Shamrock, and continued until it was exposed by US Congressional intelligence investigations in the wake of the Watergate affair. On 8 August 1975, NSA Director Lt. General Lew Allen admitted to the Pike Committee of the US House of Representatives that: “NSA systematically intercepts international communications, both voice and cable.” He also admitted that “messages to and from American citizens have been picked up in the course of gathering foreign intelligence.” At a later hearing, he described how NSA used “watch lists” as an aid to watch for foreign activity of reportable intelligence interest.”?

mated computer systems. These computers

9 __ The National Security Agency and

ourth felled ent Rights, oe


Committee to Study Government Operations with Respectt aa


Washington 1976.

befgre sieSelect

legislators considered that these might

aes Activities, US Senate,

have been


tutional. During 1976, a Department of Justice team investigated possible criminal offences by NSA. Part of their report was released in 1980. It described how intelligence on US citizens, known as MINARET

“was obtained incidentally in the course of NSA’s interception of aural and non-aural [e.g. telex] international communications

and the receipt of GCHQ-acquired telex and ILC cable traffic (SHAMROCK).” As in the United Kingdom, from 1945 onwards NSA and its predecessors had systematically obtained cable traffic from the offices of major cable companies — RCA Global, ITT World Communications, and Western Union. Over time, the collection of copies of telegrams on paper was replaced by the delivery of magnetic tapes and eventually by direct connection of the monitoring centers to international communications circuits. In Britain, all international telex links and telegram circuits passing in, out, or through the country were and are connected to a GCHQ monitoring site in central London, known as UKCrooo. By the early 1970s, the laborious process of scanning paper printouts for names or terms appearing on the “watch





performed a task essentially similar to the search engines of the Internet. Prompted with a word, phrase, or combination of

words, they will identify all messages containing the desired words or phrases. Their job, now performed on a huge scale, is to match the “key words” or phrases of interest to intelligence agencies to the huge volume of international communications, to extract them and pass them to where they are wanted. During the 1980s, the NSA developed a “fast data finder” microprocessor that was optimally designed for this purpose. It was later commercially marketed, with claims that it was “the most comprehensive character-string comparison functions of any text retrieval system in the world.” A single unit could work with: “trillions of bytes of textual archive and thousands of online users, or gigabytes of live data stream per day that are filtered against tens of thousands of complex interest profiles.” t claims to racel Corporation, as the FDF Textfinder. AY By.) the a I though different systems are in use, ptive information filtering the key computer system at the heart of a

be the “fastest, most

system in the world.”

modern sigint station’s processing ope-

rations is the “Dictionary.” Every Echelon or Echelon-like station contains a Dictionary. Portable versions are even available, and can be loaded into briefcase-sized units known as “Oratory.” The Dictionary 11 _ Oratory is describe

N n: Mike Frost and Michel, Gratton, Spyworld, Doubleday Canada,

computers scan communications input to 1994,

ie used to select messages Loan

them, and

extract for reporting an

d at clandestine embassy interception sites.


analysis those that match the profiles of interest. In one sense, the main function of Dictionary computers are to throw most intercepted information away. In a 1992 speech on information management, former NSA Director William Studeman described the type of filtering involved in systems like Echelon: * “One

12 _ Address to the Symposium on hs perlina F and National Competitiveness: Open Source

[unidentified] intelligence collection system Solutions by Vice Admiral




William Tica: Deputy Director of Central (ntelligence and former

a mi



per 1 December 1992, McLean, Virginia:

jrec or oLNSA, f

half hour; filters throw away all but 6,500 inputs; only 1,000 inputs meet forwarding criteria; 10 inputs are normally selected by

analysts and only one report is produced. These are routine statistics for a number of intelligence collection and analysis systems which collect technical intelligence.” In other words, for every million communications intercepted only one might result in action by an intelligence agency. Only one in a thousand would ever be seen by human eyes. Supporting the operations of each Dictionary are gigantic intelligence databases which contain tables of information related to each target. At their simplest, these can be a list of telephone, mobile phone, fax, or pager numbers, which associated with targets in each group. They can include physical or e-mail addresses, names, or any type of phrase or concept that can be formulated under normal information retrieval rules. Powerful though Dictionary methods and keyword search engines may be, however, they and their giant associated intelligence databases may soon be replaced by “topic analysis,” a more powerful and intuitive technique, and one that NSA is developing strongly. Topic analysis enables Comint customers to ask their computers to “find me documents about subject X.” X might be “Shakespeare in love” or “Arms to Iran.” In a standard US test used to evaluate topic analysis systems, one task the analysis program is given is to find information about “Airbus subsidies.” The traditional approach involves supplying the computer with the key terms, other relevant data, and synonyms. In this example, the designations A-300 or A-320 might be synonymous with “Airbus.” The disadvantage of this approach is that it may find irrelevant intelligence (for example, reports about export subsidies to goods flown on an Airbus) and miss relevant material (for example a financial analysis of a company in the consortium which does not mention the Airbus product by name). Topic analysis overcomes this and is better matched to

human intelligence.

In 1991, a British television program reported on the operations of one Dictionary computer at GCHQ’s London station in Palmer

Street, Westminster


UKCrooo). The program quoted GCHQ employees, who spoke off the record: “Up on the fourth floor there, [GCHQ] has hired a group of carefully vetted British Telecom people. [Quoting the ex-GCHQ official:] It’s nothing to do with national security. It’s because it’s not legal to take every single telex. And they take everything: the embassies, all the business deals, even the birthday greetings, they take everything. They feed it into the Dictionary.”

Among the targets of this station were politicians, diplomats, businessmen, trade union leaders, non-government organizations like Amnesty International, and even the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. The Echelon system appears to have been in existence since the early 1970s, and to have gone through extensive evolution and development. The need for efficient processing systems to replace the human operators who performed watch list scans was first foreseen in the late 1960s, when NSA and GCHQ were planning the first large satellite interception sites. The first such station was built at Morwenstow, Cornwall, and utilised two large dish antennae to intercept communications crossing the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. The second was built at Yakima, in the northwestern US state of Washington. Yakima intercepted satellite communications over the Pacific Ocean. Also in the early 1970s, NSA and CIA discovered that sigint collection from space was far more effective and productive than had been foreseen, resulting in vast accumulations of magnetic tapes that quickly outstripped the available supply of Soviet linguists and analysts. By the end of the 19708, one of the main sites processing communications intercepted from space

was Menwith Hill, in central England.

| 165

Duncan Campbell __ Inside Echelon

A document prepared there in 1981? :

13 _ See note 1, see the European http://www.europarl.e


at i jenuaies intelligence databases used a series


of four in a series on the


t web


he report_is

part of

enwith Hill as ‘Echelon 2. ‘This suggests nology and risk of abuse of econamnic Developr a nt of surveillance hat the Echelon network was already into

The report contains a atailed technical ac count ¢Has its second generation cations are intercepted information.

lifferent types of y 1981.


By the mid 1980s, communications handled by Dictionary computers around the world were heavily sifted, with a wide variety of specifications available for nonverbal traffic. Extensive further automation was planned in the mid 1980s under two top secret NSA Projects, P-377 and P-415.

The implementation of these projects completed the automation of the “watch list” activity of previous decades. Computers replaced the analysts who compared reams of paper intercepts to names


topics on the watch list. In the late 1980s, staff from sigint agencies from countries including the UK, New Zealand, and China attended training courses on the new Echelon computer systems.

Project P-415 made heavy use of NSA and GCHQ’s global Internet to enable remote intelligence customers to task computers at each collection site, and then receive the results automatically. Selected incoming messages




forwarding criteria held on the Dictionary. If a match was found, the raw intelligence was forwarded automatically to the designated recipients. According to New Zea-

14 _ Nicky


Secret Power,

cond, author, Nicky Hager, Dictionary computers are tasked with many thousands

of different collection requirements, described as “numbers” (four digit codes). Details of project P-415 and the plans for the massive global expansion of the Echelon system were revealed in 1988 by Margaret “Peg” Newsham. Ms Newsham,

a former computer systems manager, worked on classified projects for NSA contractors until the mid 1980s. From August 1978 onwards, she worked at the NSA’s Menwith Hill Station as a software coordinator. In this capacity, she helped manage a number of Sigint computer databases, including Echelon 2. She and others


also helped establish “Silkworth,” a system for processing information relayed from signals intelligence satellites called Chalet, Vortex, and Mercury. Her revelations led to the first report ever about Echelon,

published in 1988. ”

15 _New Statesryan (UK),.12 August 1988. At the time,

Ms Newsham was a confidential source

In Sunnyvale, C alifornia, Peg Newsham

of information and_we


identified in the artic

In February2000, Jiving in retirement and facing

worked for Toekheed Space and Missiles

Cee ae eae ious


Ms Newsham,


saic Pat she could be identifie

as the original source of information

nut Echelon, Sixty Minutes (shown

on pl plans for the massive expansion ‘of the

27 February 2000)

Echelon network, a project identified internally as P-415. During her employment by Lockheed, she also became concerned

about corruption, fraud, and abuse within the organizations planning and operating electronic surveillance systems. She reported her concerns to the US Congress House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence early in 1988. She also told them how she had witnessed the interception of a telephone call made by a US Senator, Strom Thurmond, while working at Menwith Hill. The full details of Echelon would probably never have come to serious public attention but for six further years of research by New Zealand writer Nicky Hager, who assiduously investigated the new Echelon station that started operating at Waihopai on the South Island of New Zealand in

1989. His 1996 book Secret Power" is based

16 _ Hager, op.cit.

on extensive interviews with and help from members of the New Zealand signals intelligence organization. It remains the best informed and most detailed account of how Echelon works. Early in 2000, information and documents leaked to a US researcher” provided

at cryptome.org/echelon-p377.htm.

manyy details de ofhow Echelon was developed for use worldwide. Under a 1982 NSA plan assigned to Lockheed Space and Missiles Systems, engineers and scientists worked on Project P-377 — also known as CARBOY II. This project called for the development of a standard kit of ADPE (automated data processing equipment) parts for equip-

ping Echelon sites. The “commonality of automated

data processing


Dutch Interception Station

(ADPE) in the Echelon system” included the following elements: Local management subsystem Remote management subsystem Radio frequency distribution Communications handling subsystem Telegraphy message processing subsystem Frequency division multiplex telegraphy processing subsystem Time division multiplex telegraphy processing subsystem Voice processing subsystem

Facsimile processing subsystem [Voice] Tape Production Facility

The CARBOY II project also called for software systems to load and update the Dictionary databases. At this time, the hardware for the Dictionary processing subsystem was based on a cluster of DEC VAX mini-computers, together with special purpose units for processing and separating different types of satellite communications. In 1998 and 1999, the intelligence specialist Dr. Jeff Riche}son of the National Security Archive,’ * Washington, used the ational Security Archive F an caepe ie

Freed om documents




that, among

other functions,

Information Act to obtain a m_of Information Legislation.

series of modern official US Navy and Air Force documents which have confirmed the continued existence, scale, and expansion of the Echelon system. The documents from the US Air Force and US Navy identify Echelon units at four sites and suggest that a fifth site also collects information from communications satellites as part of the Echelon system. One of the sites is Sugar Grove, West Virginia, US, about 250 miles southwest of Washington in a remote area of the Shenandoah Mountains. It is operated by the US Naval Security Group and the US Air Force Intelligence Agency. An upgraded sigint system called Timberline II was installed at Sugar Grove in the summer of 1990. At the same time, according to official US documents, an “Echelon training department” was established. With

training complete, the task of the station in 1991 became “to maintain and operate an Echelon site.”’? tates urity Group Command The US Air Force as publicly identified the intelligence activity at Sugar Grove as “to direct satellite communications equipment [in support of] consumers of COMSAT information ... this is achieved by providing a trained cadre of collection system operators, analysts, and managers.” The 1998-99 USAF Air Intelligence Agency Almanac described the mission of the Sugar Grove unit as providing “enhanced intelligence support to air force operational commanders and other

SgIn 1990,a satelliteIphotographstem showed that

Regulation C5450,48A,

letin of the Ato mic Scientists,

there were four satellite antennae at Sugar Grove. By November 1998, ground inspection revealed that this had expanded

March-April 2000,

to nine.

Further information published by the US Air Force identifies the US Naval Security Group Station at Sabana Seca, a COMSAT interception site. Its mission is “to become the premier satellite communications processing and analysis field station.” These and further documents concerning Echelon and COMPuerto Rico as




at Yakima,

Sabana Seco (Puerto Rico), Misawa (Japan) and Guam have been published on the

web.” to Echelons auc can be found atithe From 1984 onward s, Australia, Canada, web-site: and New Zealand joined the US and the UK in operating COMSAT (communications satellite) interception stations. Aus-

National Security Archive,


tralia’s site at Kojarena, Geraldton near

Perth in western Australia includes four interception dishes. The station’s top targets include Japanese diplomatic and commercial messages, communications of all types from and within North Korea,

and data on Indian and Pakistani nuclear weapons developments. A second Australian satcom intercept site, at Shoal Bay in the Northern Territories, mainly targets Australia's northern neighbor, Indonesia.

| 167

Duncan Campbell __ Inside Echelon

Australian sources say however that Shoal Bay is not part of the Echelon system, as Australia is unwilling to allow the US and Britain to obtain raw intercepts directly. The New Zealand site, Waihopai now has two dishes targeted on Intelsat satellites covering the south Pacific. In 1996, shortly after Secret Power was published, a New Zealand TV station obtained images of the inside of the station’s operations center. The pictures were obtained clandestinely by filming through partially curtained windows at night. The TV reporter was able to film close-ups of technical manuals held in the control center. These were Intelsat technical manuals, providing confirmation that the station targeted these satellites. Strikingly, the station was seen to be virtually empty, operating fully automatically. Before the introduction of Echelon, different countries and different stations knew what was being intercepted and to whom it was being sent. Now, all but a fraction of the messages selected by Dictionary


at remote


may be forwarded to overseas customers, normally NSA, without any local knowledge of the intelligence obtained. Information from the Echelon network and other parts of the global surveillance system is used by the US and its allies for diplomatic, military, and commercial purposes. In the post cold war years, the staff levels at both NSA and GCHQ have contracted, and many overseas listening posts have been closed or replaced by Remote Operations Facilities, controlled from a handful of major field stations. Although routinely denied, commercial and eco-

nomic intelligence*” is now a major target

22 _http://www.heise.de/tp/englis

‘ofinternational sigint activity. UndUnder gint activity.


1993 policy colloquially known as “leveling the playing field,” the United States government under President Clinton established new trade and economic committees and told the NSA and CIA to act in support of US businesses in seeking contracts abroad.




In the UK, GCHQ’s enabling legislation from 1994 openly identifies one of its purposes as to promote “the economic wellbeing of the United Kingdom in relation to the actions or intentions of persons outside the British Islands.” Massive new storage and processing systems are being constructed to provide on-line processing of the Internet and new international communications networks.

By the early rg90s, both GCHQ and NSA employed “near line” storage systems capable of holding more than a terabyte of data.” In the near future, they are likely to. A mill ion deploy systems one thousand times larger. Key word spotting in the vast volumes of intercepted daily written communications — telex, e-mail, and data — is a routine task. “Word spotting” in spoken communications is not an effective tool, but individual speaker recognition techniques have been in use for up to ten years. New methods which have been developed during the 1990s will become available to recognize the “topics” of phone calls, and may allow NSA and its collaborators to automate the processing of the content of telephone messages — a goal that has eluded them for thirty years. Under the rubric of “information warfare,” the sigint agencies also hope to overcome the ever more extensive use of encryption by direct interference with and attacks on targeted computers. These methods remain controversial, but include information stealing viruses, software, audio, video, and data bugs, and preemptive tampering with software or hardware (“trapdoors”). In the information age, we need to re-learn a lesson now a century old. Despite the sophistication of twenty-first century technology, today’s e-mails are as open to the eyes of snoopers and intruders as were the first crude radiotelegraph messages. Part of the reason for this is that, over many decades, NSA and its allies worked determinedly to limit and prevent the

megabytes, or 107” bytes.

Reprint from http://www. telepotis.de/ english/inhalt/te/6929/1 .htm| Permission kindly given by Telepolis, Verlag Heinz Heise

GmbH, Munich www.telepolis.de

privacy of international telecommunications. Their goal was to keep communications unencrypted and, thus, open to easy access and processing by systems like Echelon. They knew that privacy and

security, then as a century ago, lay in secret codes or encryption. Until such protections become effective and ubiquitous, Echelon or systems like it, will remain with us.

| 169

Robert Darnton

__ The Stasi Files

The most imposing building in Leipzig is also the most impenetrable — or was, until it was taken by the revolutionaries on

4 December,

1989. It housed the Stasi (the secret police, formally




when the Stasi set up|/shop in the middle of

the city, it did itself right. As a facade for its headquarters, |

Id, nineteenth-

century palace on the|Dittrich Boulevard opposite the German-Soviet Friendship House.

Behind the palace it built a bunker the size of a city block. The bunker consists of thick, concrete walls, windowless on the ground floor,

which rise seven stories to a roof covered with antennae. The antennae are connected to an ultra-modern communications center deep in the bowels of the building, where the Stasi could eavesdrop on every telephone conversation in the city, 2,000 of them at a time. Records of the conversations were stored on




tapes and entered into files — eight kilometers of files, according to one estimate, which is more than all the archives generated not just by Leipzig but by the entire duchy of Saxony over 800 years. Outside, the building is protected by turrets, spotlights, and a wall twenty feet high — twice as high as the Wall in Berlin. A sign on the wall says, “Strictly forbidden to smoke or strike a match within five meters.” Another sign, freshly painted, hangs over the main doorway to the palace, which serves as an entry to the bunker behind it. It has a very different message: “Under the order of the citizens’ committee and the government of the GDR, this building is under the safeguard of the city police.” Before last October (1990), the people of Leipzig gave the Stasi building a wide berth. They referred to it fearfully as “the Round Corner,” in allusion to its curved facade at the corner of the Dittrich Boulevard and the Barfussgasschen. Many of them believed it was equipped with automatic cameras that filmed everyone who walked past. They would turn up their collars and cross the street in order to avoid being seen too close to its entrance. But every Monday evening from 2 October until the end of the year and well into 1990, the Leipzigers marched through the streets in huge demonstrations against the abuses of the Communist regime. Their route took them right past the Stasi building. As they streamed by, they often shouted “Reds out!” and “Stasi-Nazi!” But they avoided violence, and members of the local citizens’ movement made sure there was no confrontation by linking hands to form a human chain in front of the entrance. Before the demonstration of 4 December, however, rumors had spread that the

Stasi were burning their files in order to protect themselves and their informants. Some people claimed to have seen smoke rising above the antennae on the bunker. Others talked about files being trucked out at night to airplanes bound for Bucharest.

By the time the demonstration that evening reached the Round Corner, the citizens’ group had persuaded the Stasi to let them into the building in order to dissuade the demonstrators from taking it by storm. They declared it under occupation and formed a Citizens’ Committee to guard its archives. The Stasi then melted away. Resistance would have led to civil war or perhaps even to a battle between the Stasi and Soviet troops stationed outside the city. So the Stasi disappeared and they have not been seen since, although the Leipzigers still expect to find them hiding behind every bush. Having taken possession of the central symbol of the police state in their city, the members of the Citizens’ Committee had to decide what to do with it. It was much more than a symbol, of course. It contained a labyrinth of offices, an arsenal of weapons, and above all a collection of very explosive files. Although the Stasi had indeed destroyed some material, they had left behind the great bulk of their records, which contained enough information to compromise almost everyone of any importance from the old regime and many of the leaders of the revolution. A quick glance convinced the members of the Citizens’ Committee that it would be a disaster to open up the files. Everyone would demand to see his or her dossier. Many would discover that a neighbor had been a spy and that he had reported a love affair of their wife or husband, or their own liaisons with other neighbors’ spouses, not to mention political and professional contacts that they would rather not have publicized. The Committee members may not have been pleased with what they found in their own files. In any case, they were a body that had constituted itself, no one knew exactly how, and they did not have a firm enough hold on legitimacy to dispose of the files as they liked. So they declared them closed and invited in some experts to sort through all the

| 171

Robert Darnton_ The Stasi Files

material scattered through the building and to put it under seal. That is how Hans-Albrecht Grohmann got to have a look inside the lion’s den. Herr Grohmann is an instructor in the

the students in his seminar was an undercover agent for the Stasi. But which one? He could not tell, and he was dying to find out by inspecting his file at the Round

History Department of Leipzig University.

Other visitors to the GDR had had the same experience. One woman told me about getting-lost in her car a few miles from Potsdam several years ago. She stopped to ask directions from two peasant women talking in front of their houses. “Potsdam?” they said, looking at her incredulously. “No idea.” She knew that anyone living so close to such an important city had to know where it was. Her East German friends later explained that the women must have been afraid to be seen talking with a westerner and may even have thought she was a Stasi agent in disguise. The sense of an all-knowing, allpervasive, secret presence is also illustrated by Stasi jokes, which became a fad a few months after the Stasi began to be dissolved and had to find employment in the civilian sector. Many were said to have become taxi drivers. So according to the most widely repeated joke, when you took a taxi, you only had to tell the driver your name; he would already know your address. Were these stories figments of the collective imagination, or were they rooted in reality? Herr Grohmann ought to know. He was willing to talk, he said. But he could not divulge any personal details, because he was bound by his professional conscience to respect the secrecy of the files. He poured two glasses of beer and sat back in his chair, looking out the window at the smog-filled street. Like most

For years he has been trying to finish his dissertation on nineteenth-century Saxony. Like many researchers, he keeps finding more material, and he cannot resist the temptation to look in the next box of documents. Who knows? It might contain an unpublished letter by Bismarck or an undiscovered diary of a coal miner. As a consequence of this addiction, he has never quite got down to writing. But he has acquired an unrivaled knowledge of the archives of the Saxon Ministry of the Interior — and so he was the ideal person to ask to look through the Stasi papers. When the call came, Herr Grohmann could hardly believe it. An invitation to peer into the inner workings of the most feared and secret organization of the state! Everyone had wondered how tightly it had wrapped its tentacles around the social order. Now he could find out. And I hoped I could find out from him. Aside from curiosity and voyeurism, I was moved by the desire to get some perspective on what I would call Stasi consciousness — the feeling of being watched whenever you crossed a street and of being overheard whenever you made a phone call. T encountered this consciousness everywhere I went in the GDR. Everyone I met had a story that seemed to illustrate it. A museum director said that when he was planning an exhibition of paintings, two Stasi agents turned up in his office. They informed him that the exhibition would have to include two pictures showing soldiers — GDR soldiers, depicted in a favorable light — or it would not take place. A housewife recounted that a Stasi spy in her apartment building had denounced her for letting her daughter wear western blue jeans. A professor said he knew that one of



of the East German academics I knew, he

lived in a slum. Yes,





“Stasinismus,” as people called it, should not be confused with the “Stalinismus” of the Soviet Union. Many Leipzigers had no file at all, and many of the files were full of boring, bureaucratic trivia..A typical dossier consisted of five to thirty pages: first,

a cover sheet explaining the purpose of the investigation (to provide clearance for permission to travel, to check out denunciations, to verify suspicions about contacts with westerners); then an account of the

subject’s private life accompanied by crossreferences to other files; then an “ABV” report (a report by the neighborhood police officer or Abschnittsbevollmdchtigter); then a report by the Party agent in the subject’s place of employment; then miscellaneous reports by spies, each of whom was identified by a code number rather than by name; and finally a summary with a report of a decision (to be allowed to travel, to be incarcerated, to be investigated further). Herr Grohmann found the quality of the language far inferior to what he had read in the nineteenth-century files. The grammar and spelling were sometimes faulty, the phrasing full of bureaucratic GDR jargon — words like “politically negative conduct” for dissidence. Throughout the reports he sensed a general spirit of misanthropy and distrust. The Stasi did not pay much attention to ordinary workers,

but they concentrated on everyone who came into contact with different segments of the population and especially with westerners. The fattest dossiers concerned writers, actors, artists, professors, street

musicians, cabaret performers, and people married to foreigners or with relatives in West Germany. Also, for some reason — curiosity? prurience? — the Stasi were particularly interested in the competitors in the Miss Leipzig beauty contests. What appalled Herr Grohmann above all was the prevalence of denunciation. Everyone seemed to be eager to supply the secret police with information on his neighbors. A neighbor’s daughter wore a cross ona chain around her neck. A neighbor’s son cut his hair in a style that seemed to be punk. Neighbors received mail or phone calls (those few who had phones) from driiben (“over there,” i.e., West Germany). What the neighbors failed to

come up with on their own initiative was supplied by the Stasi’s spies. They were everywhere, looking inconspicuous, because the Stasi often hired people who already occupied ordinary jobs in the workplace. The most effective spies were those who had the most contact with the public — train conductors, cleaning women, priests, and teachers. Teachers were especially good at identifying Stinos (Stinknormale DDR-Biirger) who watched western television — the kinds of alienated East Germans who were known as “those who emigrate to another country every evening at 8 o’clock.” The regime gave up on policing television habits in the 1980s. But before then it sent out agents to see whether TV antennae were

oriented toward the West, and it particularly relied on kindergarten teachers. There were two children’s programs, one from the East and one from the West, which featured the Sandman. The West German program always ended at the children’s bedtime with some remarks about what the Sandman would bring for their dreams. By asking the next morning what the Sandman had brought, the teachers could find out whether a family watched western television, and the information would go

into its file at the Round Corner. Spies did not receive large payments, sometimes a retainer of 400 marks a month, more often piecework wages for individual reports. Many did not work for the money but merely in the hope of getting a higher pension when they retired. Many were forced into it. The Stasi could put you in prison without trial; and they could hold you there indefinitely unless you agreed to spy for them. They could refuse you permission to travel if you balked at supplying reports on your coworkers or neighbors. And balking could be taken as a sign of a “politically negative” attitude. Once such symptoms were entered in your file, you might never get ahead in your job or never get a chance to move into

| 173

Robert Darnton _ The Stasi Files

a larger apartment or to buy a car. And if the Stasi had something on you, they could blackmail you into spying. Spies spied on spies. The whole system kept escalating, and in the end all of the GDR seemed to be honeycombed with denunciators and secret agents. The Stasi were a cancer

eating away at the fiber of society. How far had the disease spread? Herr Grohmann cautioned against the melodramatic view according to which, as the saying went: “Wherever three persons meet, one belongs to the Stasi.” But in fact, his exposure to the documents tended to bear out much of the Stasi folklore. One document indicated that the GDR planned to have one Stasi informer for every ten adults in Leipzig by 1994. The archives uncovered in the Stasi’s national headquarters in East Berlin were equally stunning. All the information collected in provincial centers like Leipzig was stored in gigantic computers in Berlin. In 1985, Erich Honecker had approved a plan to develop a computerized file on every citizen in the GDR’s entire population of 16 million souls. By 1989, the Berlin headquarters already contained 6 million files crammed into too kilometers of storage space. Modern technology and Prussian thoroughness could hardly have gone further. Herr Grohmann looked into the foam at the bottom of his beer glass as if he were trying to find the right word to describe his experience. “Staggering” (verbliiffend), he pronounced. The “Stasinismus” of the East Germans’ collective consciousness corresponded surprisingly well with the practices of the secret police. But Herr Grohmann had had to leave the Round Corner after only two weeks in the Stasi files. He was a member of the Communist Party, and the Citizens’ Committee decided that it could not entrust Communists with such sensitive material. So it sent him back to the nineteenth century. He said he was happier there, but he

was not sure that he could keep his job in



the university. Party members are no longer welcome in the educational system, either, and financial cutbacks may provide a pretext for the university to slough off people like him. Still, Herr Grohmann had learned to make a living as a joiner while working as a young man in a furniture shop. He could take that up again if he were forced out of the classroom. Meanwhile, he was glad that his double exposure to the archives of the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries had given him an opportunity to assess the character of the GDR. It may not have been a full-blown Stalinist regime, he said, but it certainly was a police state.

Reprint from Robert Darnton, Ber in Journal 1989-1990, W.W. Norton & Company, New York and London 1991, pp. 129-137

Geruchsproben Odor probes Undated, glasses with rubber and metal, each contents a part of a yellow fabric Die Bundesbeauftragte fiir die Unterlagen des Staatssicherheitsdienstes der ehemaligen DDR, Abteilung Archivbestande, Berlin

Ministerium fiir Staatssicherheit (Ministry of State Security of the former German Democratic Republik) __ State Security Archive

Ministerium fiir Staatssicherheit (Ministry of State Security of the former German Democratic Republik) __ State Security Archive

Uberwachung von Personen vor dem Palast der Republik Nr.11/1989, video, blackand-white, 3:50 min Die Bundesbeauftragte fiir die Unterlagen des Staatssicherheitsdienstes der ehemaligen DDR,

Abteilung Archivbestande, Berlin

Der Revisor Undated, Ministerium fiir Staatssicherheit Schulungsfilm, black-andwhite, sound, 23 min Die Bundesbeauftragte fiir die Unterlagen des Staatssicherheitsdienstes der ehemaligen DDR, Abteilung Archivbestande, Berlin

176 | °03 POLITIC:



Beobachtung von Punks in Berlin Nr.12/1989, video, color, sound, 21 min Die Bundesbeauftragte fir die Unterlagen des Staatssicherheitsdienstes der ehemaligen DDR, Abteilung Archivbestande, Berlin



Ange Leccia __ Arrangement Stas! 1990, installation, two Stasi surveillance cams, two monitors, dimensions variable

Having become known in the 1980s for his symmetrical installations of objects from the worlds of design and consumer culture — from searchlights and soccer nets to motorcycles, cars, planes, and even (at the 1987 Miinster Skulptur Projekte) industrial harvesting machines — in 1990, only months after German reunification, Corsican-born Ange Leccia responded to this dramatic geo-political shift with yet another set of identical objects placed “face to face”: a sober montage of two East German closed-circuit surveillance camera units. Using the signature TFK 500 RFT transistor camera hardware com-

plete with all-weather housing which he acquired from the Ministerium fiir Staatssicherheit (Ministry for State Security) or STASI - equipment so robust and time-tested that this product of the VEB Studiotechnik in Berlin became one of the GDR’s all-too-rare export items — Leccia places two units on the wall, barely a meter apart, such that the only thing visible within each camera’s field of vision is the lens of its unblinking Doppelganger. The descriptive sobriety of the title of this hig ly evocative installation — which is simply named Arrangement Stasi — stands in marke contrast to those of other similar mirroring confrontations by Leccia whose formal sy. metry and proximity is often coded with as The Kiss or The Conversation. This is all more-or-less programmatic appellations su big , the more striking, given the patently allego ical character of the installation’s staging of the thoroughly involuted GDR surveillance system, a security apparatus that, at its height, employed more than 50 percent of the erjtire East German population. Indeed, the catatonic reflexivity of the real-time output of these cameras to the attached monitors or “Fernbildschreiber” (as they were called in the official jargon) which consists entirely and exclusively in the static and information-poor image of its own optics, invokes quite directly the excessive or, perhaps better, underacking “arrangement” of the massively bureaucratic STASI which was also ultimately suffocated by its own inability to process the sheer volume of the massive amounts of data it gathered. As such, Leccia’s installation simultaneously points out the striking shift that has taken place in surveillant economies in what one could call the pre- and post-Echelon eras, the key characteristic of the Stasi’s now seemingly anachronistic incompetence, having been largely solved with the rise of digital communications and the ability to do targeted searches on vast quantities of data from multiple sources (fax, telephone, e-mail, etc.) using fully automated, key-word-driven sniffer programs.

Arrangement Stasi 1990, installation, 2 Stasi surveillance cams incl. weather protection, D monitors by RFT-VEB, Poh cie Anselm Dreher, Berlin






Y. Levin

Arrangement Stasi 1990, installation, 2 Stasi surveillance cams incl. weather protection, 2 monitors by RFT-VEB, dimensions variable Courtesy Galerie Anselm Dreher, Berlin

| 179

Cornelia Schleime __ Here’s to further fruitful cooperation No. 7284/85 1993, Series of fourteen silver-screen-photo-collages, each 39 x 27”

Cornelia Schleime’s work in CTRL [Space] is probably unique in that it developed out of a highly personal experience of being spied upon without her consent by a totalitarian, bureaucratic state apparatus. Bis auf weitere gute Zusammenarbeit Nr. 7284/85 (Here’s to further fruitful cooperation No. 7284/85) came about in the early 1990s after the artist was allowed to look at the file kept on her by the East German secret police, and had to confront the fact that she had been under surveillance for years in the GDR. Born in East Berlin in 1953, Cornelia Schleime studied costume design, painting and graphic design in the late 1970s in Dresden. However, shortly thereafter the government imposed an exhibition ban on her work in response to her unwillingness to “conform” and her ongoing activities in “illegal” artist circles. She was subsequently targeted for surveillance by agents of the GDR state security service, before being placed under close observation. The artist submitted four applications for an exit permit to the appropriate government offices before finally being granted permission to leave in 1984. Schleime subsequently moved to West Berlin, but was not allowed to take to the West even one piece of the work she had produced to date. This is the period which spawned the highly-disturbing reports by the secret police agents, signed with code names such as “Martha Heine” or “David Menzer,” in which their surveillance of Cornelia Schleime’s private life reached the height of absurdity. This is reflected in the tortuous argumentation resorted to in the spy reports. The petty bourgeois failure to grasp the way artists understand themselves could hardly be revealed more strikingly than in comments such as: “The apartment walls are painted with the figures of naked women. The side of the apartment door facing the hallway is covered in messages from her acquaintances scrawled in crayon.” Or: “Her appearance has been brought in line with the apartment’s furnishings, and is likewise ‘intended’ to look very modern.” One wonders seriously whether such observations can really justify the efforts of such an enormous surveillance apparatus as that wielded by the GDR’s state security service. The cycle Bis auf weitere gute Zusammenarbeit Nr. 7284/85 uses these reports which are enlarged many times by silk-screening. Schleime has glued staged photos of herself into the reports, where they seem to have become part of the original. The result: fourteen dada-like collages comprising selected files and photographs which comment on them. But the images do not seek to mimic the aesthetics of a truly investigative photograph, nor do they attempt to conceal the fact that they are artistic productions, indeed, some of them even resemble posed portraits. What the presence of the artist in her “biographical reconstructions” conveys is the intense irony she draws on to overcome the humiliation she experienced: freezing on the snow-covered roof of a house but appearing content as she sits at the dining table under the light of a standard lamp, she illustrates the allegation of “self-isolation” raised by her neighbors in an East Berlin house. In a wrecked truck we see the artist mocking flight from the GDR with impudent naivety, ie., in a manner as senseless as possible. Dressed like a cleaning woman in a typical nylon overall,




Bis auf weitere gute Zusammenarbeit Nr. 7284/85 Here’s to further fruitful cooperation No. 7284/85 1993, silver-screenphoto-collage, detail, 39 x 27” ‘Cornelia Schleime

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| 181

Cornelia Schleime __ Here’s to further fruitful cooperation No. 7284/85

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she raises her glass to a likeness of Honecker which has been reduced to a wall clock — a victory of the ridiculous over the tenacity of the surveillance team employed by the secret police. What is revealed in the allegations contained in the Stasi Files is, above all, the banality behind the zeal of the state security service’s policing system. The artist intensifies this aspect in her work. In her photographs, Cornelia Schleime forges the details of an identity over which she has no control, a “stolen life,” and constructs an absurd reality which never existed in this form. Using an ironic exaggeration typical of her work, she presents herself in selected roles — housewife, assembly-line worker, cleaning woman, Rapunzel, teenager, Bohemian, aristocrat, diva — and in the process regains the power to

define her own life. Her collages of photos and Stasi reports (which seemingly indicate knowledge of the subject, C.S., and her habits) are themselves an act of liberation, insofar as they reject the sanctions of a power which sought to gain control over her life. The artist works through the painful process of re- iting her own biography by employing a revealing satire in which she particularly e ores the phenomena of narrow-mindedness and provincialism. It was only possible for Cornelia Schleime to embark on such an investigation once the immediate shock of being without home or identity had subsided, when years later she held in her hands the evidence of the surveillance, and time had provided her with the necessary distance to confront the regime’s absurdities with humor. This is evident in the text which serves as an introduction to her work, and in which she thanks the numerous officials employed by the GDR’s Ministry of State Security for Translated from German by Jeremy Gaines

their “assistance.” Anke Hoffmann

Bis auf weitere gute Zusammenarbeit

Nr. 7284/85 Here’s to further fruitful cooperation No. 7284/85 1993, silver-screenphoto-collage, details, each 39 x 27” Cornelia Schleime

| 183

Korpys/Loffler __ Spindy Concept for Co-operative Living 1998, multi-part: ink, crayon, and pencil on paper, photographs, color, book, various dimensions

And then the one with the revolver kept shouting: “Hand it over, hand it over.” They didn’t get any money from me personally. There was a fishmonger present who'd piled all his money up in front of him, it must’ve been about ten thousand marks or so, but it just stayed put, they didn’t take it. The packages were probably enough for them. When she came to me I said: “Cut the crap, what’s all this nonsense about.” She was only about five foot two tall. I didn’t take her seriously. She had a proper gun though, not a revolver but a pistol, they told me later, a 9 mm Magnum. Then there was a man in the background with a machine gun keeping an eye on everything and there was a man with a revolver at the next counter. They were all about thirty, quite normally dressed, and not wearing masks, and that did them a big favor, because everyone described them differently afterwards. The one with the maqhine gun gave all the orders. It all went very quickly, it was all over in two or three minutes. Then the one with the machine gun shouted: “Get out now, out.” It all seemed so military, and it was really simple as well. Then three months later I was taken away by two CID men (Central Intelligence Detectives), and we drove to the flat in Hanover in a clapped-out old Mercedes. My job was to identify the stamps from the wrappers round the notes and make sure this was the full amount. That wasn’t so easy, because it was common practice at the time for there to be another ten single stamps under the ones for five-or-ten-thousand. If we’d spread all the stamps out and added them yp to try to arrive at the full sum we'd have been closer to eight hundred thousand than five hundred thousand. But in five minutes I was quite sure that it was the full amount. They wanted to know if they’d stashed some away, or if this was the lot. My two companions had a good laugh about their Hanover colleagues on the way there. They thought they were an absolute hoot because they’d had the flat under observation for weeks and months before they went in, because they saw that it wasn’t being used any more, but they didn’t look under the tarpaulin on the balcony until weeks later and found the spades and the banknotes’ wrappers. We went up to the fourteenth floor in the elevator and then into the apartment, where it was a real crowd, there must have been ten to twelve people there, some with rubber gloves and powder-dusting brushes, looking for prints. The hall led into the living room, which was about eighty square feet, with the balcony off it. There were two mattresses on the left-hand side looking from the hall — I can’t remember whether they had covers on or not — a set of simple shelves and a portable radio, and all that was nothing special either. The place seemed relatively tidy — not particularly dirty and there weren’t any full ashtrays or great stains on the floor; there were even curtains at the windows. The tarp was still on the balcony, it was colorless, dirty, folded up tarp, I should think about thirty square feet. A bit later we drove to the prison for people awaiting trial in Hamburg in a VW bus. We were all given binoculars and were supposed to identify a woman down in the yard,











Ohne Titel Untitled

(part of: Konspiratives Wohnprojekt Spindy Concept for

Co-operative Living) 1998, ink and crayon on transparent paper,

20 x 36" Courtesy Galerie Meyer Riegger, Karlsruhe, and

Galerie Otto Schweins, Cologne

| 185

Korpys/Léffler__Spindy Concept for Co-operative Living

Ohne Titel Untitled

(part of: Konspiratives Wohnprojekt Spindy Concept for Co-operative Living) 1998, ink on paper,

43 x 70” Courtesy Galerie Meyer Riegger, Karlsruhe Ohne Titel Untitled (part of: Konspiratives Wohnprojekt Spindy Concept for Co-operative Living) 1998, ink on paper, 43 x 70” Neue Galerie am Joanneum, Graz




Ohne Titel Untitled

(part of: Konspiratives Wohnprojekt Spindy Concept for Co-operative Living) 1998, ink on paper, 43 x 70” Courtesy Galerie Meyer Riegger, Karlsruhe

Excerpt With kind permission.

First published in Korpys/Léffler. Konspiratives Wohnprojekt “Spindy”, eds. Christoph Keller and

Klaus Fecker, Revolver ~ Archiv fur aktuelle Kunst, Stuttgart 1998 Translated from German by Michael Robinson

but she knew what was going on, so she was all hunched up and we were too far away. Then we were taken to an interrogation room with women sitting around and behaving oddly. One kept turning away, another was making faces, and others again were keeping their eyes tight shut. I went out with one of the CID men then because I was pretty sure I’d recognized one of them, but I’d have to see her eyes to be sure: I’d looked her straight in the eye when she was right in front of me in the bank that time. She had eyes of a very particular shade that I would definitely have recognized if I’d seen them, but they couldn’t force her. “No, we can’t force her,” the CID man agreed. The insurance company paid up pretty quickly, there were no ifs and buts. I counted the money, and it was still a thousand marks short after all the adding up. Had the difference been worked out wrongly? But we left it at that. Herr Kiimpel Bankhaus Neelmeyer

| 187

Korpys/Léffler __ Spindy Concept for Co-operative Living

From the archives of the German Federal Criminal Office

We hunted for and found the apartment with one overriding criterion in mind: security. We had to be sure, when we rented an apartment that a variety of people could flow in‘and out of the house unobtrusively, without being noticed. Neighborly anonymity was imperative. Points two and three on our checklist were: prime transport links and the apartment's direct surroundings. We had to be certain nobody could see through the windows. Everything spoke in favor of a high-rise or large block of flats. These offered optimal conditions. The desires and expectations one normally harbors when searching for an apartment — such as the wish to feel at home, have a nice garden, a balcony or pleasant neighbors — none of them applied. The term “desires” was replaced by “functionality.” Under the heading of “functional” came, for example} high-rise buildings with several elevators. To whom could you allocate a flat in such a building? A nasty surprise awaited us when we went to view one. House entrances were fitted with video cameras — a novelty in those days — “to guard inhabitants from terrorist|attacks” in the words of the agent. Thanks for nothing! The Cover The entrance hall behind the door of the apartment had to elude a serious air. Coatrack, mirror, floor rugs, an umbrella, and a small painting or poster for that personal touch — and ready it was. Most important in making the apartment appear inhabited by normal tenants: sheer curtains and drapes. These are the ultimate symbol to the outside world that the apartment is inhabited by decent members of the community — because of the white net curtains. The improvisation of illegal life did not stop with the curtains. They were not sewn but stapled down the sides and later, as a further development, they were glued. This was faster and looked better. We did not care if they were durable or washable — the apartment would only be used for a short time.

The classic living room area complete with coffee table, armchairs and shelves was practical and would be able to withstand a visit by the landlord should they come to check up on things. Stackable mattresses and a duvet and covers were added and could be used as a bed or with cushions, as a sofa. The well camouflaged bedroom for multiple users was ready to go. Especially recommended for one-room apartments.

Furnished It was a great idea to rent a furnished apartment. We saved ourselves all the above-mentioned furnishing work and shuffled the furniture around as we wished. Desk and working areas were set up and an expensive floor rug rolled in. Curtains had to be reinforced as you could see through them. It was also great to work in a perfectly outfitted kitchen. Illegal inhabitants also want to cook for themselves sometimes.

188 |


Once we had She wanted to be obliged to return around, cleaned,

moved into the apartment, the owner said she’d like to pay a quick visit. sure that her apartment and its furnishings were in good hands. We were the apartment to its original condition within two days! We moved things renovated. A number of suspicious objects had to be removed from the storage room. The whole darkroom was packed up again. We also had to install a fiancee in place of the absent tenant. The day of the owner’s visit approached, we had everything rearranged, when the telephone rang: the landlady had been prevented from coming as the roads were too icy!

Ohne Titel Untitled 1998, photograph, color, 54 x 71” Courtesy Galerie Meyer Riegger, Karlsruhe, and Galerie Otto Schweins, Cologne

We never heard from her again.

Ho Chi Minh There were certain dangers inherent in illegal life. A sparsely-furnished, old apartment had an irritating, creaky, wooden floor. Officially, there were only supposed to be up to two people “living” there, but as more were always present, it was difficult to move around in the apartment. Under no circumstances did we want the other tenants to notice us. It was hard to avoid going to the kitchen or toilet, what could we do? Wooden floorboards as we know do not all creak the same. Thanks to our sedulous efforts, creeping around the apartment,

Translated from German by Jeremy Gaines

trail! we eventually found our very own almost noiseless and very personal Ho Chi Minh

Sigrid Sternebeck

| 189

Stih & Schnock __ Schleyer-Konsorten 2001, CD-ROM, loop

__ We Must Demand of the Citizens a Sacrifice 2001, print on fabric, 106 x 71"

Schleyer-Konsorten In the 1970s, a kind of state of emergency reigned in the Federal Republic of Germany. Despite the different political parties participating on the emergency commitees that were set up, a consensus was soon reached: “We can expect the citizens to make sacrifices,” because, given the prevailing impression that the state was under threat, the populace could be expected to accept restrictions to its basic rights and liberties. It was the time of searching for terrorists and concerns about security inside the country. Universities and even the Academy of Art in Karlsruhe were suspected of being hotbeds of terrorist activity. Classes practicing drawing nudes in a park were monitored from a distance, approach roads were checked and, fi ally, the studios then searched. Creativity was unpredictable and was automatically associated with the terrorist scene. Spatial proximity to the Federal Constitutional Court and the Bar of the Federal Supreme Court was a further indication of increased grounds for suspicign. After terrorist attacks took place students Schleyer-Konsorten were arrested because they were riding motorbikes or because they looked like wanted 2001, CD-ROM, loop persons. The most striking phenomenon of the era was the wanted posters, for all citizens Stih & Schnock of the Federal Republic were called upon to reconcile the blackand-white portraits on these posters with what they saw going on Automated Fingerprint Identification System around them and to carefully study the people they encountered in Persons, Institutions, Objects, Things State Data Pools their daily lives, as if to say “After all, you only have to look at their Personal Identification Center faces” to tell that they are public enemies. Mass hysteria was whipSocial Sanitation ped up, with the result that once neighbors again started spying on Search and Surveillance each other, particularly if somebody’s lifestyle did not fit the norConspirators' Domicile mal patterns and beliefs. Such suspicions would culminate in the Telephone Surveillance statement “They are members of the Schleyer gang.” Young Limited Eavesdropping Operation people living in apartment blocks, preferably the kind with carports Unlimited Eavesdropping Operation Undercover Search located near highway junctions, corresponded to the type the Automobile Identification dragnet surveillance system was out to get. The utility payment Identification Control search made it possible to find out from the public utilities who was Movement Profiling paying his or her electricity bill in cash, and making themselves Random Covert Search even more suspicious by likewise making cash payments on Utilities-Payment Search

deposit when renting a new apartment. Lists of car license plates

Tenant Profiling

were stored systematically in files in order to track down duplicates and produce movement patterns for presumed terrorist sympathizers and possible suspects. The driving force and organizer of this comprehensive, computer-assisted data entry process was Horst Herold, President of the Federal Criminal Office (BKA) from 1971 through 1981. The criminal identification services (fingerprint identification system, lockers, typewriters, printed matter, hand-

Computer Profiling Personal Profiling Data Reconciliation

writing, weapons used in criminal acts, etc.), search methods

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1996 1996


Ringley was in Ringley

in economics


and began to upload images of her eaulege dormitory room to the internet. * Those

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What can T expect“tosee on the JenniCam? Anything I may be doing in my dorm room — reading, writing e-mail ... — watching TV, playing with my hedgehog Spree, rearranging my room, doing aerobics, just about anything. Since my dorm room is my “house,” I do anything in here that any person would do in the whole of their house. Do you censor JenniCam? Nope — I never know when the camera is going to take the picture so I have no time to prepare and I never feel a need to hide anything going on anyway.

Do you ever stage what we see? I occasionally do “shows” which are more or less staged ... it’s nice to be able to acknowledge the camera now and again. But except for these quite obvious shows, everything else is just moi au naturel. Why are you giving up your privacy like this? .. [don’t feel I’m giving up my privacy. Just because people can see me doesn’t mean it affects me. I’m still alone in my room, no matter what. You’re naked sometimes, is this pornography? That’s for the viewer to decide.’ 3 _ Ringley, JenniCam homepage. you understand

\n June of 1997 this became a pay site.

Jenni wrote: “| hope

how much | hate doing this. | feel Jike I'mletting everyone down. { feel like a

Implicit in the

uestions that Jennifer

traitor. | hope you believe me when Rin that if there were any other way to do this, I'd be doing

ngleychooses to answer is the charge

it. The fundamental

problem is t S. —originally estimated bandwidth cost at around $ 200 a

at she is an exhibitionist. Media coverage

month. We thought we could take an advertiser

to cover it, but ttpecae hrough and nothing

has tended to assume the

materialized. And then we found out

charge as proven.

that gur monthly cost ran way aa $1.000

sore for ine

e first Ofmany newspaper articles


Ringley, in the Philadelphia Inquirer, opens with the observation: “In another time, before the Internet, Ringley might have remained a gifted ... student ... with a latent exhibitionist streak.” The article goes on to

quote a psychology professor who describes

Ringley as “not the first...exhibitionist on the Net.”* A later article about Ringley in i 4 Jere Downs, The JenniCam Ensnares Online Fars into|der Web, in the USA Today, reports: “Peter ‘Crabb, psy6 July 1997, chology professor at Pennsylvania State University, . has studied camcorders’ effects on behavior and [asks] ‘Do we want to be turned into a society of exhibitionists?’”’ But the writer of the Philade Iphia Inquirer article does ‘not explain how hee 4 internet is supposed to have brought out Ringley’s otherwise “latent” exhibitionist tendencies. Nor does Professor Crabb explain how the mere sight of a camcorder may make an exhibitionist of any one of us. Nor do the journalists and psychology professors say how, in defining Ringley as an exhibitionist, they would distinguish her behavior from that of the man who compulsively exposes his penis in the street. For it is clear that the exhibitionism

Philadelphia Inquirer, p. Al; my emphasis

at issue is not just any kind conspicuous

public behavior. Whatis at issue is Ringley’s supposed sexual exhibitionism. The use of the word exhibitionist in a sexual sense is one that ordinary language has taken from psychiatry and psychoanalysis. In Freud’s view, exhibitionism derives from voyeurism. ° The small child first In Three Essays

on,the Theory of Sexual/ty (1905), Freud remarks,

inate at parts of his or her own body


‘Every active perversion

1S oss Seine ied by its eae counterpart: any: re di: is an exhibitionist in his unconscious js

ciated with sexual pleasure. The c ild later at a same time a inet " (Sigmund Freud, Three Essays develOps a curiosity about corresponding


sites on

Edition aytheoe


on the Theory of Sexuality, in The

Works of Sigmund Freud, trans. and ed. James

the bodies of others. He or


rachey, 24 vols., London

then identifies with the look that the other gives and offers his or her body to this other look. In effect, the exhibitionist proposes a childish exchange: “I’ll show you mine if you'll show me yours.” At the time Jennifer Ringley acquired her QuickCam, real time video exchanges on the internet were already possible by means of a ae available program called CU-SeeMe.’ 7 agee dog ‘1 of CU-SeeMe


1953-74, vol. 7, p. 167).

write: "CU-SeeMe is_a free videoconferencing program (under

have used this program,


aoe‘ of Cornell University and its collaborators) available to anyone with a Macintosh or Win-

she did not. She has shown no interest in

dows ae connection tg the internet. With CU-SeeMe, you can videoconference with another site seeing those wnom she is seen. Me 1ca. psycl Fovnerp in fhe world. By using a reflector, multiple parties at different locations can parti-

efore Freud

sychi c sip >U-ae

was a science o

conference, each from

his or her desktop computer.’

pearances. Jean-Martin Charcot, wit

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om Freu

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ie , commissione

He images exchanged i akeus this videconferencing Pe

a volume


program has become popular with the gay community, where

of photographs

epicting t

are often scenes of masturbation.

| 229

Victor Burgin __ Jenni’s Room

8 _ | would

Jenni is no

bodily postures adopted by his hysterical patients at the Salpetriére hospital in Paris. He hoped that the images would provide doctors with a means of diagnosing mental illness. Freud made a radical break with the established medical tradition of diagnosis through observation. Not content to look at his patients, he listened to them. The judgment that Ringley is simply an exhibitionist is based on her observable behavior. But if we listen to her we may suspect there is more to her purported exhibitionism than meets the eye.® On her emphasize that | know Jennifer Ringley oply as Jennj_— a multimedig construct. This graduation from college, Ring ey’s dormimore or Jess real than Baldwin's Giovanni. In what follows | make no_pretense to tory room disappeared from the internet,

nsychoanalyze Ringley; this would sspatently absurd. The Jenni | speak of here is not a person, to

but another room

soon appeared in its

be psychoanalyzed

but a heuristic deyice in a discoursabe about images. The real Jennifer Ringley ace. In a radio le if interview broadcast iin has observed: “} have two personalities. There's Jennifer, see nobody is interested in. And there’

year ollowing er graduation, Ringley was

Jenni.” (Downs,

op. cit., p. Aj.


of the | as Revealed


trans. Alan Sheridan, New York 1977, pp.1-7.

sh i he

in: Ecrits

Experience [1949],

“Jacques Lacan’s paper Le Stade du Miroir

Mirrors make various appearances jn the writings of psychoanalysts.

. has certainly influenced me ...However, when he recommended that

Freud spoke metaphorically

the analyst be a well-polished mirror for his patient. Lacan first presen-

Lacan does not thin cor the mirror in terms ed_his notion ofheee mirror stage,in 1936.

(The versign best

known today dates from 1949.) Otto

of th the mother’s face in the way that r Fenichel spoke, ghreal mirrors when he observed that the mirror,

wish to

his of her own

body in an

external form,


in confronting the individual with


Winnicott was a pediatrician efore he

(Otto Fenichel,

The Scoptophilic


and Identification [193

became a psychoanal: st. He never stop ed

children, and he derived most of his ideas —

Se also singes-songwriter Ana Voog’s

her camera as if

it’s really nice to know people from

Psychoanalysts have also takeg note of the ways in


f psychoanalysis


Life, 6 ee 1997,

comm hie {f you wake up in th

exhibitionist is to think of

middle of the night or something with an anxiety attack,



camera in her new apartment. She replied,

To think of Jennifer Ringley as an

over the

Lacan’s essay on what he calls the mirror stage, the idea of the mirror has figured prominently in theoretical writings about the image. I invoke his essay not so much for its direct relevance to Ringley’s behavior, but because of a work it has indirectly provoked.'° In a 1967 essay, the Le 10. See Jaques Lacan, The Mirror Mas as formative of the neychoanalyst Donald Winnicott writes:

asked what had led her to install the

“T felt lonely without the camera.”” 91.5

camera is a mirror. Ever since Jacques

Fenichel: First Series, trans nichel.ang David Rapaport, New York 1953, p. 376). working closelly with mothers and theirr

9 _ Ringley, interview with Ira Glass, Tales from the Net, in, This American

WBEZ-FM, Chicago,

From our side of the screen, the camera is a window. From Ringley’s position, her


it were a window. This view is encouraged world are all there, to comfort yqu ortalk about anything you want. It’s just really cool.” by the language used to describe the comNet Cameras Put Intimacy puter interface. The terminology used for the Macintosh operating system first spoke of opening “windows” on the screen. The Microsoft operating system that emulates the Macintosh interface is called Windows. In similar terms, the JenniCam homepage offers the visitor the option of opening a

or example,

which the

mirror fig

of inquiry

the Hungarian Psychoanalyst Géza Roheim

wrote a book on

his close observations oftheir inter-

“ooking glass magic” that drew extensively

on his original

training a$ an anthropologist. In Lacan's

actions. Lacan’s Sect on the mirror st vessay the mirror ap os



and as

ve reality and there are references to such

is concerne the look the infant:gives. disciplines bear thihoanalysis as etymology, et Winnicott’ s essay Mirror-role ofMother and D, W. Winnjc

irror role of Mother and

empirical studies of child behavior.

Child Development [1967], in Playing

Family in Child Development emphasizes


the fundamental importance of the look that the infant receives. Lacan gives thorough consideration to the look received by the subject later in his work. But he is mainly concerned with the look that comes from outside insofar as it functions to ee the subject; to put the subject in its

remote window on the computer screen.

place.'* In Lacanian terms, Lacan’s concept

This provides a virtual aperture through which Jenni’s room remains constantly visible regardless of what other tasks are performed by the computer. In this way Jenni’s room, and at times Jenni herself, becomes a constant companion to the otherwise solitary computer operator. In one of countless images captured by the camera, Jenni sits alone at her computer. In the background of the image is a large mirror. To think of Ringley’s camera as a window is to privilege our own point of view. If from this position we judge Ringley to be an exhibitionist, we have done no more than acknowledge our own voyeurism.

of the look is on

2 _ For example, Lacan refers to the

the side of

moral paintings in the great hall of the Palace of the Doges

the Symbolic;

in Venice and asks:,"“Who cgmes to be laces? thse whofi me

Winnicott’s is on the side see in these vast « cs

Reality, London 1986, p: 111

ofthe Im.

it she gaze of om Bes

the people. And what do the people

ho - when they are not there, they the

Winnicott says that when the infant looks peogle ~ deliberate jn this hall. ee the painting,

at the face of the aoner, minaire,

lve ne es Quat


Oea a


it is their gaze which is there.” (Lacan, Le Sé-

he or she sees

funda agp: de la psychoahalyse, ed, Jaques-Alain Miller

nly insofar



[1964], ore 1973, p, 104; ieans, Sheridan, under the title The Four Fundamental Concepts of

mother recognizes the infant: Psyc ho Analysis, ed

tes-Alajn Miller, New York

1978, p, 113; trans. mod.). In such terms there

at does theba y see when he or she

locke foundation ingi

rene ency

in film and photography theory to assimilate conside-

s atthe mother’s face: lam suggesting foe of the gaze AeFoucault's he n offacbey icism.

at, or inari ly, W. at the baby sees is

(1 first criticized the tendency in “Geometry


and Abject ion”, in; AA Files, no. oe Summer ee p. 35-41). Much of what Lacan says about the

self or herself. In other words, the mother aze jn seminar 1964) is fundamentally similar to what he isloo lo ing at the baby and what she looks tom an ir cole ifference a: Life are derived

likeis related to what she sees there.”m4 of Merleau- eee What

Does the word

said in seminar 1 (1953) — apart

fom a shift from Sartre's




to th


js fad ically different in the 1964 seminar is Lacan's reformulation of the

“she” in this last sen-

tence refer to the mother or the baby,


as objet petit a, as cause of desire.

hen Laca pares his, idea of the mirror stage e 1953 to take account of the presence of

soth at different times? It is not


oe (m)other alongside the child, it is primarily the (m)other’s voice that is at issue; in conforming,




denying or imposing

the child’

little princess!”


14 _ Winnicott,


“Yes, you


ang d

In English “gaze”. gaze




reproduces ‘the. ambival lent

‘structure of the relation described, which the infant “takes place” as a projection of his or her mother’s regard. To illus11S used by Lacan and by

“RO a Seea j what he is talkin, about,

15 _ The French term rege ey drew.

WA eatjNevertheless, Winnicott affirmatively oeeee thestatement. The grammatical have

It It isis tempting tempting (


jn the work on which

Lagan in



5 “logk"

innicott h. word

gu eate who. tells him she ha _ gone out inthe evening toa coffeebar ed ~ had been “fascinated to see the various characters” there. Winnicott notes that his patient has a “striking appearance.” He

16 _ Winnicott, Mirror ..., op. ‘cit

asks her if anyone in the coffee bar had looked at her. She concedes that some people had looked in her direction but primarily because of the man she had been with. Winnicott remarks that this woman had difficulty in being seen in a way that would make her feel she existed."° “Another of Winnicott’s examples concerns a woman of his acquaintance. To all appearances she has a happy life, but every morning she wakes in a state of “paralysing depression.” Her despair only ends (until the next morning she wakes up) when she finally comes to “put on her face.” “What is illustrated by this case,” Winnicott writes, “only exaggerates that which is normal. The exaggeration is of the task of getting the mirror to notice

and approve.””” 17 _ Winnicott, Mirror ..., op) cit., p, 114; my emphasis.

Winnjcott quotes the writer


Jenni is noticed and approved o: . Each



18 _ Downs, op. cit., p. A 1.

sien day she receives hundreds of new e-mail messages. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Ringley has been “sought by Internet suitors around the globe; featured in Norwegian and Australian megane : and “cheered by British lesbians.”’ * It is perhaps significant that Ringley made her bid for attention on the eve of her twenty-first birthday and in her final year of college, occasions which in western society are charged with exceptional ritual

significance. Both mark the transition from a prolonged state of familial dependency to an adult life free of parental supervision. In the words of an old music

hall song, “I’ve got the key to the door, never been twenty-one before.” Mingled with the jubilation is a certain anxiety as to what might lie beyond the door. Such rites of passage from the protective circle of the family to a potentially hostile outside world may easily revive anxieties and responses derived from earlier separations — most particularly, the originary separation from the mother. In the earliest months of life, objects are, strictly speaking, subjective. The infant has no means of distinguishing between his or her psychical reality and the external world.’? Lacan’s essay on the 9 _ According to Winnicott, part of the mother’s early role isto instill a sense of omnipotence mirror stage ‘describes how the infant first 1 the infant efi providing his or her abjects there at the moment and in the place where the, baby forms an idea of his or her ‘body as distinct hallucinates them. The See example of this occurs when the mother anticipates the infant's from external reality. The infant unifies needs for the breast and rovides_ it more or less where and when'the infant tries to summon it certain objects within a bounding outline, ae being. ine tile om HH ote is the gyigin of the5confidenee with which the chitd will later the newlyly drawn frontiers of the sub ject. explore the bie once it has come to distinguish re his or her body and his or her objects. Other objects — the “not me” — are simultaneously exiled to the other side of the border, the outside of the skin.*° But the ae 20 _

> Didier

unitary forme

bk be Skin Ego, trans. Chris Turner, New Haven, Conn., 1989, Cathrine

self-image in the mirror

Cracer succinctly A characterizes the mirror stage as “the moment when one becomes oneself because

stage is not a snapshot. The distinction beone is no Jonger the same as one’s mother.”

(Catherine Clément,

The Lives and Legends of Jaques

tween the selfand the objectively existin acay, ies Arthur Goldhammer, things is not achieved in the blink of an eye. It takes time. The piece of blanket or tattered teddy bear to which the small child clings with a special fervor is, in Winnicott’s terms, a “transitional object” in that it marks the passage of the infant or small child into that differentiated world in which he or she exists separately from his her mother.” Its function is to assuage the 21



New York 1983, p. 76). ¢

icott writes: “Of the transitignal object if can be said that it is a matter of agreement

anxiety that accompanies

the process of

be, me,us and the baby that we will never ask the question: ‘Did you conceive of that or was it pre-

differentiation. The more general concept as to you from jeeut?’ The important point is thaf no decision fe) transitiona henomena is at the founAono

10t to be formulated." (Winnicott,

on this point is expected.

Transitiona! Objects and Transitional Phenomena,

dation of Winnicott’s notion of play, a fun-

damentally important stage of which, is what he calls eee alone in the presence 2 : . of someone.”*~ At this stage, he writes,

The in

Playing and Reality, p. 12),

22 _ Winnicott, Playing: A Base al Siatem ent, in Playing and Reality, p. 47.

“The child is now playing on the basis o

the assumption that the person who loves and who is therefore reliable is available and continues to be available when remembered after being forgotten. This person is felt to reflect back what happens in the playing.”


23 _ Winnicott, Playing

. , p- 47-48; my emphasis


Victor Burgin __ Jenni’s Room

In “The Capacity to Be Alone,” Winnicott therefore remarks that the basis of “the capacity to be alone is a paradox; it is the experience of being alone while someone ’


else is present.””* 24 _ Winnicott, The Capacity to Be Alone [1958],

in: The Maturational

Process and the Facilitating

Jennifer Ringley first sets up her JenniCam in her college dormitory room. It is her first room away from home. But although the dorm room is not home, neither is it yet fully the outside world. In

Environment: Studies in the Theory of Emotional Development, Pes 1965, p. 30; my emphasis.

Britain, university professors were once

legally considered to be in loco parentis. American colleges still actively cultivate a familial environment. The dormitory room is a transitional space. It lies between the primitive space of infantile omnipotence under maternal protection and the adult space of civil society. Like the temporal space of adolescence which it prolongs, the dorm room is a space of experimentation and reality testing, a space in which

risks are taken.*” We have probably 25 _ For a Winnicottian perspective on ees


mS risk taking,

see Adam Se

seen the c avior of the small amie and Solitude, chap. 3 of On Kissing, Tickling, and Being eat osey Essays on th repares to leap Irom a

Unexamined Life, Cambridge,;MA,

all who

hig place with the

1993, To.


“Look at me!” The exhortation is usual-

ly directed to its mother or some adult surrogate. We might regard it as a childish form of exhibitionism. But such behavior might equally well be understood as a risky experiment hazarded only under the rotective maternal gaze.*° The child will 26 _ We need not necessarily decide be tise these explanations; jl nay be significant

rec speak of exposing ourselves to risk.




that we

into the void, and

into its own increasingly risky future, only when it feels its flight securely reflected in its mother’s eyes. Ringley says, “I occasionally do ‘shows’ which are more or less staged.” The Philadelphia Inquirer article reports that during the first year she set up the JenniCam, Ringley performed a number of “shows” in which she dressed in

“garter belts and spike heels.””” In aclassic 2/7 _ Downs, op. cit., p. Al,



US television comedy sketch the late Gilda Radner becomes a child, alone in her room, who uses her bed as a stage on which she stars in a variety of adult roles. Like the performances that Jenni gives, often from the stage of her own bed, the solitary child’s play is performed to an



invisible audience to some person, who is “felt to reflect back what happens in the playing.” For Winnicott, “this area of playing is not inner psychic reality. It is outside

the individual, but it is not the external world.””® What better description could we Winnicatt, have of the space of the internet? Parading around her websited dorm room in spike heels, Jenni is tottering around in her mother’s shoes. Under the gaze of her mother she is investigating what it is to be a woman like her mother. That is to say, she is posing the question of female sexuality. The fledging subject’s sexuality is inaugurated in the space of the family. The infant is seduced into polymorphously perverse sexuality through the ordinary care given by the mother in response to his or her basic organic functions of feeding and


a, OPVCti,


excreting.?Under the interdiction incest 29 _ See Jean He


rive and his ee

Sealy Its Fate in the Transference, trans

this sexuality is destined to be definitively en tanton, in Jean Laplanche: Seduction, Translation, and exiled ed ftfrom the familial i space. In terms o social geography, Jenni’s perverse tableau is staged in a place of transition between home and the outside world, the dorm

the \Drives, ed. John Fletcher and Stanton, London

1992, p. 189,

room, and in an iconography convention-

ally sited between the normal and the perverse — “garter belts and spike heels.” In psychical terms, her dress-up act is situated in a transitional space in which what is fantasy and what is reality is not decided. As Winnicott puts it, “the question is not to be formulated.” On one particular occasion, however, Jenni’s show provoked an email threat of physical violence so extreme that it led her to shut off her camera for a while. “I hid in my room for three days,” said

Ringley. “I was terrified.”*° Winnicott 30 _ Downs, op. cit., p, Al.

writes: “The thing about playing is always the precariousness of the interplay of personal psychic reality and the experience of control of actual objects.”** 31 _ Winnicott, The threatening e-mail message that Jennifer Ringley received in response to her reality testing contained the demand that she perform a striptease for the camera. A popular MTV series purports to lay bare the daily lives of a group of

Playing ..., op. cit., p. 47.

twentysomething people sharing an apartment. The program is called The Real World. The NTSC signal that broadcasts the “real lives” of these young people provides 29.97 frames of video each second. Jenni’s real world is transmitted at the rate of one frame every three minutes. What appears on the computer screen is not a

live video image but a sequence of video stills. A woman friend once presented me with a cheap ballpoint pen. Printed on his barrel was a picture of a young woman in a one-piece bathing costume. If the pen were held not in the position for writing but with the sharp end tilted upright, the “bathing suit” (an opaque liquid) would wipe down to reveal the woman’s body. The JenniCam picture updates in a similar way. The present image of Jenni’s room

abruptly gives way to a black frame. Then the new image is incrementally revealed as it wipes down from the top of the frame, progressively replacing the area of black. There is something of striptease in the way the space is revealed. Then there is the three-minute interval of time before one image gives way to another, in which whatever may happen in Jenni’s room occurs

unseen. There are also the parts of Jenni’s domestic space that remain perpetually offscreen. Certainly there is plenty here to provoke the desire to see what is concealed even on occasions when the architect of this scopophilic apparatus is herself absent from the scene.*” Jenni’s onscreen appeat32 _ A message posted on the internet requested images of Jenni’s room to the left and the right of





her bed. The person posting the request is attempting_to construct a ic



image of the roam.

when she playacts the seductress but also scenes of her engaging in actual sexual intercourse. Many of these images have been scrupulously collected by her selfproclaimed fans and made publicly available on an “adult” website. But such scenes constitute only a very small proportion of Jenni’s onscreen life. They represent part of the ordinary private life of almost any woman of Ringley’s age. Their absence would have been more remarkable than is

their presence.®

The person who violently demanded thesesé



models” are exclusively{ sexual and the details they give of their lives

that Jenni perform a striptease seems are patently fictignal,

The ter to simple sexug! voyeurism

here is unambiguous

blind to the fact that enni never does any1 Jenni appeals is no less a complex amalgam of sexual thing else. But Jenni plays not simply with the revelation and concealment of parts of her body. More significantly, it is her entire person whose coming and going she controls. Roland Barthes once asked, “Is not the most erotic portion of a body where the

The voyeurism

and sublimated elements than is her purported exhibitionism

garment gapes?” He continues: “In perversion ... there are no ‘erogenous zones’...; it is intermittence, as psycho-

analysis has so rightly stated, which is erotic: the intermittence of skin flashing ... between two edges (the open-necked shirt, the glove and the sleeve); ... it is this flash itself which seduces, or rather: the staging of an appearance-as-disappearance.”** ish Barthes, Thé Pleasure of Hi ee trans. Richard Miller, New York 1975, pp. 9-10.

Of a the images captured by the JenniCam, those that capture Jenni are in the

minority. Jennifer Ringley reaffirms the fundamental law of the eroticisation of absence. We might also discern the outline of a more primitive scene of coming and going within Ringley’s play. In his book Beyond the Pleasure Principle (1920), Freud describes watching his eighteen-monthold grandson repeatedly throw over the edge of his cot, and then recover, a wooden reel attached to a string. As he expels the object the child utters the sound “ooh!” He retrieves the reel with the sound “da”. Freud and the child’s mother both understand the child’s vocalization as renderings of the German words fort and da — “gone” and “there”. Freud interprets the child’s

“game” as its rehearsal of the painful experience of the mother’s absence, a game in which the child gains mastery in symbolic representation over what it cannot control in reality.» Jenni is in full control of her 35 __ See i an the Plegsure Principle, in Standara presence and a absence in her room. Her mastery of her own coming and going in effect puts her in the maternal position in relation to the supplicants who log on to her website. I have already noted that the JenniCam opens a window in the computer screen that remains open whatever other

Edition, vol, 18, pp. 14-17.

The activities of ¥ 33 _ A number of commercial pay sites have sprung in emulation of the JenniCam.

| 233

Victor Burgin __ Jenni’s Room

activities the computer is engaged in. I suppose many of these are work activities. Even at this moment, windows onto Jenni’s room may be opening through countless spreadsheets and company reports, un-

herine Philips, Solitude,

37 _ See Francette Pacteau, The

finished novels and academic papers. Abandoned in the workplace, these lonely adult children keep watch through their windows for Jenni to come home from work. Those familiar with baroque music may know Henry Purcell’s setting of a reflection on solitude by the seventeenth-century poet Katherine Philips. The poem begins, “O solitude, my sweetest choice,” and ends with the affirmation, “Oh how I solitude adore!”3° Any verbal address implies in snlia) ples 166 an addressee. ‘the solitude one speaks is already compromised. In the last word of the penultimate line of Philips’s poem, there appears an undefined “thee.” Philips is able to find solitude her “sweetest choice” because she is alone in the presence of someone. Some modern recordings of the song identify the addressee by adding “O Lord!” to the original text. This agrees with the conventional piety of the period in which the poem was written. But from a psychoanalytic point of view, this “thee” is not the father in heaven with whom one hopes to be united, but the mother earth from which one has had to separate. The small child separating from its mother’s body clings to some thing, often a battered toy. The child may hold conversation with the toy. The scenario is familiar enough. The toy here serves the child both as transitional object and imaginary companion.’” Imaginary Companion, in The Symptom_of Beauty, cheeeee Jennifer Ringley’s QuickCam might seem an unlikely confidant. With its circular lens set in a white sphere it resembles an

eyeball.3° Some might see it as an evil eye. 38 _ In a Lacanian perspective it might serve as exemplar of the gaze as objet petit a z


But it could equally be assimilated to a those friendly clocks, coffeepots, and other domestic utensils that happily romp through children’s books and animated cartoons. There is certainly no indication that Ringley saw her QuickCam as anything more sinister than a cutely bald version of

and mobile part-object.

her curled-up hedgehog Spree. In a newspaper interview she says, “I’m inhabiting a virtual reality in which the camera feels like a little buddy.” Jenni’s apparent assumption that the gaze is fundamentally benign cannot be based on the evidence

39 _'Downs, op. cit. p. Al.

of history, or the testimony of the con-

temporary news media, or on her own experience. Her optimism can only be a consequence of early maternal attention that, in Winnicott’s somewhat truistic formula, is “good enough.” But the basic benevolence Ringley assumes must surround her, that which is the precondition of the “contentment” that Philips finds in solitude, cannot be guaranteed. In the year before she died, Melanie Klein wrote a paper On the Sense of Loneliness. Klein says she is not referring to “the objective situation of being deprived of external companionship.” She is rather speaking of the inner sense of loneliness — the sense of being alone regardless of external circumstances, of feeling lonely even when among friends

or receiving love.*° Klein locates theavesorigin Kein. O

of this, for her,ineradicable sense oflonean Medica!

liness in nostalgia for the originary plenitude of the earliest union with the mother. A time before differentiation in which the infant’s desires were understood without their requiring to be alienated in language. Philips enjoys the delights of solitude in places “remote from tumult and from noise.”*' The French may rebuke a noisly exhibitionistic child with the words “Arréte ton cinéma!” If Jenni’s exhibitionism is a form of cinema, albeit a strange cinema of “truth one frame per one-hundred-andeighty seconds,” it is silent cinema. The commentaries she provides on her webpage, and the commentaries of those like myself who write about her, provide some intertitles. But these verbalizations are after the fact. Jenni’s originary form of address was, and remains, essentially mute. James Baldwin tells us: “To ensure privacy, Giovanni had obscured the window panes with a heavy, white cleaning polish.”




41 _ Philips, Solitude, p. 171.

42 _ Baldwin, Giovanni's Room, pp. 112-113.





Anyone who has closed their curtains at night might feel they perfectly understand Giovanni’s behavior. But as Baldwin leads us to know his fictional character better, he reveals that Giovanni is not motivated by simple propriety or corporeal modesty. His apparently normal desire for privacy is driven by pathological guilt. The gaze Giovanni seeks to escape is a very partic-

ular one: a judgmental gaze. Baldwin, like Freud, reminds us that it is not by looking that we may learn what people are doing when they look, or when they shield themselves from the gaze of others, or — like Jennifer Ringley — when they expose themselves to the other’s gaze. It was obvious to the journalist who interviewed Ringley that she was an exhibitionist. He concedes, however, that she might have remained only a “latent exhibitionist” if it had not been for the Internet. We are used to hearing dramatic claims about the effects of newly emerging technologies. My own claim here is a comparatively modest one, something of an anticlimax: New technologies confront image theorists with questions which may be most productive when they are least questions of technology. In the mid-1970s, Laura Mulvey’s essay Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema inaugurated much debate about voyeurism. In retrospect it now seems surprising to

me that little attention was paid to the complementary question of exhibitionism. I owe my surprise to the JenniCam.

This current version of my essay was presented as part

of the Millennial Scholars Lecture Series in the Center for Gender Studies, University of Chicago, 7 April 2000 An earlier version was first given at C3 Kulturdlis és Kommunikaciés Kézpont/C3 Center for Communication and Culture, Budapest, 7 July 1997, in the context of a program sponsored by the British Council.

Reprint from Critical Inquiry, Autumn 2000, vol 27, No.1, * pp. 77-89


Afterthought The thought is not mine. It is Homi Bhabha’s. In the discussion period following a presentation of this paper at the University of Chicago he suggested that, in 1996, Jennifer Ringley might be seen as having produced Jenni as a transitional object. The idea struck me as completely convincing. I replied that his thoughts make perfect sense of what has become of the JenniCam website in the years since its inception. From its first paradoxical status

as a “private” website, JenniCam has become a fee-based, semi-commercial site, and Ringley herself has become a public figure. At the time of writing, JenniCam features bumper stickers for sale and Ringley is offering her bed on the web auction site eBay. Of the fate of the transitional object, Winnicott writes, “It is not forgotten and it’s not mourned. It loses meaning, and this is because the transitional phenomena have become diffused, have become spread out over the whole intermediate territory between ‘inner psychic reality’ and ‘the external world as perceived by two persons in common’, that is to say, over the whole cultural field.” innicott, Transitiona) Objects and Transitional! Phenomena

in Playing and Reality, p.

See also Winnicott, The Fate of the Transitional Object, in Psycho-Analystic Explorations, ed. Clare

Winnicott-Ray Shepherd and Madeleine Davis, Cambridge, MA, 1989,

pp. 53-58.



= ae

[ |

Andy Warhol, photographing from the reeds in Cocaine Cowboys,

1979 Cocaine Cowboys, 1979

Cocaine Cowboys, 1979

236 |


Branden W. Joseph

__ Nothing Special: Andy Warhol and the Rise of Surveillance

In the 1979 film Cocaine Cowboys, one of the (deservedly) least-known cinematic productions in which Andy Warhol was involved, Warhol plays himself as a familiar character: the distant, voyeuristic individual incomplete without his camera or tape recorder. The film’ Ss

plot revolves around a middle- -of-the- road,


and and their

manager (played by Jack Palance) that raises

money by trafficking drugs. Amidst a lot of horse riding and interminable musical interludes of the group rehearsing their first album, their last big deal before going clean Is foiled when an unexpected police presence at the airport leads the smuggling pilots ill-advisedly

to drop the cocaine on the beach near the

band’s Montauk

compound home).



Before the band



their badly-treated male secretary, Herman, hides the cocaine in a pond and with Lucy, the

| 237

Branden W. Joseph __ Nothing Special


) Hs Wt HT



Patrick Fleming in Boys in Bed (The John) and Brigid Polk (Berlin) in Brigid Holds Court (the

Duchess), reels four [left] and three [right] of The Chelsea Girls, 1966.

French maid, makes his own deal to sell it. Warhol, who later arrives to do an Interview magazine cover story on the band, ends up playing a pivotal role by surreptitiously snapping Polaroids of Herman and Lucy’s retrieval of the cocaine and flight from the beach house, evidence which he leaves for the band before making his own, well-advised, exit from the scene. Hiding in the reeds unbeknownst to the two, Warhol’s compulsive photographing moves from character attribute to plot device and-ina manner akin to what I will attempt to do here — from voyeurism to surveillance. The attempt by the writers of Cocaine Cowboys to capitalize on Warhol’s reputation and public image was a far cry from the disturbances caused by his endeavors of the 1960s during the period when this image was being formed. Although it had been building since the exhibition of Warhol’s first Campbell’s Soup Can paintings of 1962, the increasing sense of disquiet felt by the culture at large erupted in full force with the distribution of his epic film, The Chelsea Girls of 1966. Reactions such as “The Underground Overflows,” Bosley Crowther’s infamous review for the New York Times, posed Warhol’s supposed voyeurism as a distinct and very real threat,

not only to acceptable artistic standards, but to the larger social arena as well.




“(T]his seamy The Chelsea Girls,” wrote Crowther, is really nothing more than an extensive and pretentious entertainment

for voyeurs, letting them peer (I should add, quickly, for all of three and a half hours!) at what is presumably happening n2 in several rooms of a New York hotel. 2 Bosley Crowther, The Underground Overflows, in New York And while this is deemed, “all right so long as these adventurers in the realm of independent cinema stayed in Greenwich Village or on the south side of 42nd Street and splattered their naughty-boy pictures on congenial basement screens — or even sent them around to college outlets for the edification of undergraduate voyeurs,” Crowther thought it necessary to stem the distribution of such work: “politely but firmly,” as he put it, to tell Warhol and his associates “that they are pushing a reckless thing too far.” Although very different from Crowther’s review in focus and scope, the ensuing discussion of Warhol’s voyeurism within the critical literature on his films would not shed this sense of menace entirely. Rather than moralistically referencing the exhibitionistic display of actions related to drugs and subaltern sexual identities, however, this discussion of voyeurism would connect itself above all to Warhol’s use of the static camera and the unedited film reel. This can be found, for instance,


3q _ Crowther, op. cit., p. 3.

In 1973, Stephen Koch would take the idea of Warhol’s voyeurism even further, declaring in his book Stargazer that: “Even more than it does most movies, voyeurism

Ondine in The Pope Ondine Story, reel eleven of The Chelsea Girls,






= Ty!







Tyler, op. cit., p. 15,

in the somewhat ambivalently argued premise of Parker Tyler’s 1969 critical history of underground film, which saw “the film camera,” as having, “for one of its most neglected functions that of invading and recording realms which have to some degree remained taboo — too private, too shocking, too immoral for photographic sh: “eat ae ‘a Although Tyler saw this 969 ighEPI Da Capo, New “voyeur camera” as an underlying §struc. tural dynamic of all underground film and related it to certain aspects of the sexual revolution, he argued that it could ultimately only be redeemed through a positive aesthetic function.’ In those of Warhol’s films that employed an unmoving single focus, on the other hand, Tyler saw the very substance of an unredeemed voyeuristic stare: raw, unedited, and unmanipulated film nearly devoid of formal interest which he dubbed “fetish footage.” “[T]hese Underground films are shown entire,” he wrote, “thus seeming inflated episodes, at best, and leading to the unarticulated ‘solid time’ of Andy Warhol’s fixed-viewpoint camera that developed in 1963.”° “Ours,” he writes later, once again primarily referencing Warhol, “is the sneaking time of the voyeur and also the voyeur’s tragic ‘poverty’: the peephole is his makeshift but necessary field of ‘stolen’ vision and an absolute limit to this field.””

dominates all Warhol’s early films and defines their aesthetic.” In the works he examines, Koch finds “a structural filmic model of the voyeur’s relation to the world” that he also connects to iheformal feature of Warhol’s static camera.” “The Bolex sees without ‘linking, he writes, “its, staring, dead eye endows Warhol’s alienated vision with a mechanistic impersonality.” In a “single gesture,” he concludes, Warhol “installs the unbroken stare as his formal trope and reinstates the camera in the condition of being a dead machine.”? In a manner not entirely divorced from Crowther’s reaction, Koch’s analysis ultimately attributes this development to the “coyness and perversity” and “pornographic dimension” of “Warhol’s mind.””° Grafted onto the artistic strategies of Marcel Duchamp, Warhol’s “voyeuristic personality” figures as the motor behind both the development of an aesthetic — the highlight of which is The Chelsea Girls—and its “degraded” downfall.” The problematic tropes of patholo, havi adence, and degradation run Film historian and theorist David James and, more recently, Douglas Crimp, among others, have shown that such an idea of voyeurism is an insufficient trope by which to characterize the complexities of Warhol’s cinema. “While the metaphor [of voyeurism] usefully recognizes the camera’s often uninflected stare at irregular sexual practices,” writes James in Allegories of Cinema: American Film in the Sixties: “the more general notion it implies — that Warhol’s was a form of direct cinema, without significant determination of the profilmic by the cinematic apparatus — is entirely misleading. It runs aground not only, like other absolute realisms, on its elision of the mediation of the apparatus and of generic and formal codes, but also, and more crucially, on the nature of the profilmic. For rather than unfolding in ignorance of the camera’s presence or

t., pp. 49, 99

throughout Koc study

f Warhol.

%- Tyler, op. cit., p. 36

| 239

Branden W. Joseph __ Nothing Special

unaffected by it, the spectacle in Warhol’s films is produced for and by the camera. Only if you are unconscious (Sleep) or a building (Empire) can you be unaware of media attention in Warhol’s world. Otherwise, as the recording apparatus mechanically transforms life into art, it constitutes the space ofits attention as a theater of selfpresentation. Since the people in the profilmic are always trying to accommodate themselves to the demands of the camera, always conducting themselves in full recognition of the apparatus as both recording technology and as a potential avenue to fame, the defining condition of voyeurism — ‘Tepetitive looking at unsuspecting people’ — is precluded. The metaphor has to be reversed, re-contained in an antithetical coupling in which the self-conscious profilmic subject, narcissistically exhibiting himself or herself as a means of attracting attention, is complemented by a camera whose power lies in its threat to look away. “* 12_ David E. James, Allegories of Cinema: American Film in the Sixties, abies University

During the course of

Press, Princeton 1989,

p. 67! For another important critical discussion

Crimp, Face Value, in About Face:


Hartford, Conn. 1999,

his subsequent

of voy roe see Douglas

analysis, James describes the fluctuating Andy Warhol Portraits, ed. Nicholas Baume (ed.), Wadsworth ynamics by which Warhol’s superstars conpp, 110-] tinually ‘slip into and out of a resonating series of performative identities and subjective roles in a manner that makes the inadequacy of voyeurism as a unifying trope for Warhol’s production abundantly clear. My own goals for this essay are much more modest. Yet despite the analyses of James and others, I remain interested in the particular resonances that “voyeurism” carried as an epithet, interested in what exactly it was that a critic like Crowther regarded as particularly “reckless.” Certainly, this reaction was to a large extent a homophobic one, coupled as it was with a more general revulsion against the increasing visibility of other sixties subcultures as well. But I think there is also something else at play here, something with which such a homophobic response was inextricably intertwined. And while I will relate

this back to the idea of surveillance (bolstered only in part by the characterization




made by Warhol’s associates in 1979), it is not in order to seek to replace voyeurism with yet another master trope. For not only has this already been attempted, with unsurprisingly disappointing results, but Warhol’s production is simply too diverse and variegated to be encompassed by any such reductive term.’

Thus, what I will

ffom an analysis of surveillance, For an attetapt to synthetically explain Warhol's production

be looked upon as a argue here should lance, Duke University Press, see Stephen Paul Miller, The Seventies Now: Culture, as Surveill. hitherto little explored added dimension Durham, N.C. 1999, pp. 236-257. of Warhol’s work and its wider cultura resonance; by no means a claim of being the final word. I will begin, not with a further discus-

sion of film, but with Warhol’s A: A Novel, a somewhat lesser-known extension of the procedures pioneered in his films to audiotape and then, via transcription, to literature. Warhol’s investigations into the similar effectiveness of audiotape in producing the unstably exhibitionist and performative dynamics described by James began in 1964, when he received his first tape recorder — his “wife,” as he called it — which began to accompany him everywhere. *As The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (from A to B and Back Again), Harcourt Andy Warho he famously recounted this dynamic racein Jovanovich, New York 1975, p. 26. his Philosophy: “The acquisition of my tape recorder really finished whatever emotional life I might have had, but I was glad to see it go. Nothing was ever a problem again, because a problem just meant a good tape, and when a problem transforms itself into a good tape it’s not a problem any more. An interesting problem was an interesting tape. Everybody knew that and performed for the tape. You couldn’t tell which problems were real and which problems were exaggerated for the tape. Better yet, the people telling you problems couldn’t decide any more if they were really having problems or if they were just performing.” arhol, PHilosaphy, op. cit., pp, 26-27. Beginning in the summer of 196 ct Warhol attempted to produce A as an epic novel using this technique. Arming himself with his tape recorder, a series of blank cassettes, and an adequate supply of amphetamine (which is distributed in the

Stephen Shore Warhol taping Ondine for A: A Novel, in the Factory toilet, 1965

book’s opening “scene”), Warhol set out to record twenty-four hours in the life of Factory superstar Robert Olivo, aka Ondine. In a manner that would have been impossible with the bulky technology of film, Warhol’s relatively miniature tape recorder allowed for an extension of his cinema’s performative aesthetic across all areas and into all the spaces of Ondine’s daily life. Even with the aid of chemicals, however, as is by now well-known, the initial taping session lasted a mere twelve hours, and three subsequent sessions continuing into 1967 were finally meressary to fulfill the book’s initial concept.”

16 _ See Victor Bockris, A; Aj\Glossa

a ‘Present throughout Aare A blatant and

often startling and amusing sequences of public exposure, the nature of which would have further outraged Crowther and others who found The Chelsea Girls too much to bear. Already by the second side

of the first tape, Stephen Shore has started to engage Ondine in a lengthy discussion about his participation in acts of rimming, felching, and coprophilia. a This is interrupted by the delivery to the Factory ‘ofa. video tape recorder (on which more will be said below). However, the beginning of the second tape continues the initial tone, picking up with a discussion of the possibility of a man’s penis being bent in such a way that he would be able physically to “fuck himself.”"® Ondine and the others are clearly playing it up for the tape recorder, das egging each other on with raunchily suggestive questions and recollections. The book’s exposure of Ondine’s private activities is momentarily thematized when he tries to retire alone to the Factory’s bathroom. Warhol, referred to as Drella throughout the book, initially seems to acquiesce (as long as Ondine takes the microphone with him), but then urges Shore to take a photograph of Ondine in position before closing the door: (D) Photograph Ondine shitting on the toilet with me holding the microphone. Laughter. (O) No, don’t. (D) Oh, please. (O) No, oh Della, please, I, I, my ... (D) Oh Ondine, I... (O) It’s uh, my turds is a personal ... (D) They’re not. They can’t help it. (O) Do you know when you had that big party here?

A Novel, op. cit., pp.



(D) Uuh. When was it that I threatened to throw cigarettes in your camera like that? Oh the night that you showed the films. (D) Yeah. (O) Now I’m gonna close the door. (D) No, uh, no, Ondine. (O) Oh please, Drella I want to be — (D) Just once.

(O) behind it myself. (D) One picture and you can close

the door. Okay? So just sit on the john and I’ll, oh just, just one picture.

| 241

Branden W. Joseph __ Nothing Special

19 _ Warhol,

A: A Novel,

chose not to correct the following passages


(O) I can’t take a picture like this. No, no, oh I... (O) I can’t sit on that john. Oh there’s something in it. I think it’s speaking. Can you hear it? There’s a message. It’s just say-ing shsss and ... Oh, no, listen do, do this. (O) No, I don’t wanna sit. I’m so sick of my dick being shown and everybody talking about it.’? 45, Other than changing certain name arho) deliberately op. cit., ‘anne gets t 1e impression ‘that Warhol book's initial transcription, Thus was searching for’‘an image ‘that 1might A are as “form an emblematic cover for his novel. Another, equally significant although less visual moment in the novel comes when Rotten Rita (Kenneth Rapp) and Moxannne (actress Genevieve Charbon) lament the fact that Warhol can’t record Ondine’s telephone conversation with The Duchess (Brigid Polk, aka Brigid Berlin) who is in the hospital awaiting surgery. At that moment,

to everyone’s surprise,

Warhol produces a phone tapping device from out of his bag: RR — Yeah I know cause I mean we should be able to hear this. M - Yeah. O — Oh, but those hearing things you could hear. D — I have one, I have one, I have one, I have one. O - You have one?!! He’s got one! R - She’s finished the box. O — He’s got a hearin’ thing. Oh, how gorgeous. Indivis — all day long we've been out of our boxes. He’s got a nice bag there. R — Come to the inner blue circle. RR — Drella, that’s fabulous.

O — Oh my goodness! To hear the Duchess’s voice booming over the room. Yes please. Oh, he’s plugging it right into his ear, plugging it right into his ear, plugging it right in.*° 20 _ Warhol,

A: A Novel, op. cit., p



"Tt seems that there is no limit to either Warhol’s technological capabilities or his will to capture every circumstance of Ondine’s interactions. Yet, even though


the premise of A is, to a large extent, the disclosure of private information with a penchant for sexual situations and uninhibited raunchiness, there is one place that

Warhol dare not take his recorder. At the very end of the first twelve-hour session, Drella and Ondine discuss the possibility of a late-night.cruising session in the park: DRE — Maybe we could start like. — I have a divine idea, a divine ice se What? O — The minute that this is through DRE — Yeah.

O — I'll meet you in front, in front of the little house. DRE — What little house? O - There’s, there’s a little gazebo. DRE — Really? O — In the park. DRE - Oh.

O — And oh, such lecherous activity is going on. DRE — Oh you're kidding. Really? O - Shwwww DRE — At what time? O — Oh but very early, at the cr-r-rack of dawn. DRE - Oh really? You mean .. . the crack of dawn. O - Oh they just uh, stand around on the rocks ... DRE — You're kidding? O —No, it’s fabulous. It’s utterly divine.

DRE — Really? O - It’s a nature’s paradise of temptation. DRE - Oh.

O — The wonderland. DRE —- Mm.

O — And right next to Mayor Wagner Lake like it is. DRE - Oh really? You mean over there? O= Yes. DRE - Oh I used to go over there to ... O - Oh. DRE — All the time. O — No no, I mean right in the middle of the west side.

DRE — Center Park. O — You you know the filthy section. DRE — Yeah.

O — Where all the dirty people are. DRE — Yeah. 2l



A Novel,


cit., pp

O — Well right there.”

Ondine further jokes about the possibilities of going undercover, hiding the microphone in his pants attached with the help of a prophylactic: DRE — Well they wouldn’t let me interview you there. O — They don’t, are you serious? They DRE — What?

O — don’t know what's up your sleeve. DRE — No, yes they do. O — No they don’t and whn you’re there ... DRE — No.

O — Well I can conceive of you ... DRE — It’s smaller than you cock. O —I wouldn’t want to get, I’m supposed to hide it under my balls. DRE — Oh wouldn't it be fantastic. O — (laughing) the microphone. DRE — That would be very strange. O — (laughing) DRE — Or put a rubber on it. O — Wouldn’t that be, with a rubber on

it, Drella ... ah. (Laughs.) Under your balls.” _ Warhol, A: A Novel, o p.



Although Warhol and Ondine are clearly not serious in their endeavor, Warhol’s “No” at the beginning of the above quotation remains of considerable import. Warhol does not want and, as he indicates, it would not be allowed for him to continue recording Ondine in the park. For, although surveillance is to a large extent the game being played in A, to have pursued it into the park would have been to enter into a profoundly different power relation than the one at work in taping Ondine. Both Ondine and Warhol would have known full well that one of (if not the) primary functions of police surveillance was the recording and suppression of the supposedly

“deviant” practices of homosexual men. With hidden microphone in pants, Warhol or Ondine would have been abandoning the complex interplay of voyeurism and willing exhibitionism to assume the same structural position as a police informer. Indeed, in the same years that Warhol was producing his tape-recorded novel, the police surveillance of gay men was entering a new stage of technological sophistication. As Alan F. Westin reported in 1967 (drawing in part on readily available information from Time magazine): “The fastest growing application of police film and TV surveillance is in investigations of the activities of sexual deviates, usually homosexual solicitations or acts committed in ‘public’ restrooms. California police have used camera surveillance in toilet booths at department stores and amusement parks. In Mans-

field, Ohio, films were used in a city-maintained restroom. As one law-enforcement official described the Mansfield installation: ‘A two-way mirror was installed in a towel dispenser on a door in which a hole had been cut so that the officers could observe the restroom area from a concealed position. [The toilet booths were closed on only three sides and had no doors.] Not only were the activities of deviates observed but colored films were taken of the criminal acts which were used both for identification and as evidence in subsequent trials of the offenders.’ In other cases in which there were doors to the toilet booths, visual and camera surveillance has been conducted through ceiling openings such as heating

ducts or light fixtures.”*? _Alan

F. Westin, Privacy and Freedom, Atheneum, New York 1967, p. 131. The inserted

A few years later, James B. Rule’s Private Lives and Public Surveillance would make clear that such a selective targeting of groups designated “deviant” was not a gratuitous use of surveillance technologies. Rather, as he describes, it was an absolutely necessary process for the effective functioning of any system of surveillance. The reason was simple economics since

square brackets are Westin’s.

| 243

Branden W. Joseph __ Nothing Special


James B. Rule, Private Lives

Rule uses nT term “devignt Pees igngte any noncompliant

Throughout the book, (or as he calls them


the cost of a system of “total surveillance” of every member of the population (somewhat like Warhol’s following of Ondine) would be prohibitively expensive. Therefore, Rule explained, those effecting surveillance must focus primarily on that “minority of deviants” (of whatever nature) that “necessitate the existence of systems : ee) of surveillance and control.”** The costSurveillance, Allen Lane, Lond ‘tL 1973, p. 279 eG effective operation o surveillance techno-

"client”), as his Lana ion covers the activities of insurance and cred

operations of ae

companies as well as visual surveillance


izing social ee

that he describes in such detail makes it Beg ¢ that the desi



logies, then, produces or re-enforces the and criminalveillance system

the a a


hichsparc asap s

sh MySealant” ss

be seen

are only — althoughclearly a privileged — one. “Without a cheap means of separating out the deviants,” notes Rule of the panoply of surveillance systems (including actual visual reconnaissance, tracking credit transactions, etc.), “their task becomes impossible. Mass surveillance, in other words,” he continues, unselfconsciously giving the


process its proper designation, “requires '



constant efforts of discrimination.” 25 __ Rule, op. cit, pp.


26 _ Rule, op. cit., p. 299.

emphasis in origin

though virtually a structural necessity in the operation of systems of surveillance, such activities of discrimination do not, of course, occur without subjective judgment. In a further. passage, Rule notes that the files gathered through surveillance, “are most useful where they enable the system quickly and unerringly to single out the minority of their clients who warrant some measure of social control. In their most refined form, these discrimination procedures involve highly subtle judgements, often predictive ones, about the client’s future behaviour, based on imaginative and interpretive use of the discrete facts on file.”?° Given the visibility that Warhol accorded himself and the members of his entourage through such productions as The Chelsea Girls and A: A Novel, it is not surprising that the Factory captured the imaginations of the New York City police and, later, the FBI.” As Warhol matter- of: -factly ex-

27 _On the FBI surveillance of Warhol, see


Margia Kramer, Andy Warhol ef al.: free File en

to Gretchen Ber

‘Andy Warhol, UnSub Press, New sa 1988. 28 __ Gretchen Berg,

English, 10 May 1967, p. 40.






coming u here all the time, they ey Nothing'to Lose: ipienie with Andy Warhol, in Cahiers li inema in we re oing awfulthings and we aren’t.”


Police harassment and censorship had begun from at least the moment that one of Warhol’s first films, Andy Warhol Films Jack Smith Filming “Normal Love” (1963) was seized by the police who erroneously thought it was Jack Smith’s Flaming Creatures, and it continued past the filming of Lonesome Cowboys (1967-68)(where the FBI got in on the act) to the seizure of the pornographic Blue Movie in 1969. se The See Callie Angell’s discu sion



reveale 1e, Films s


a handwritten letter by Billy Name, most likely sent to Warhol while he was in France promoting The Chelsea Girls at the Cannes Film Festival. It reads in part: “Andy — 2 plainclothes policemen visited Friday night. They looked around casually but pretty thoroughly. They were very interested in the films and looked at about 3 small reels (from “13 Most”) and asked if there was a projector here. I said no projector. When they left they said I’d be seeing them again.” Concerned for the consequences both to himself and to the work in the Factory, Name inquires into the accessibility of legal resources should they become necessary. “Please write to me & tell me what you think about it all & whom I should contact,”


of Andy Warhol: Part //, Whitney


eum of American





pp. 36-37.

ends the letter: “I have

placed the Factory in a state of ‘TEMPORARILY CLOSED’ and am trying to have it appeat that no one is in at all times. 7390 Billy Name, handy pik oa)r to Andy eae TC39, The repressive uses 0 police survel lance Warho|] could hardly have been made more clear. In 1969, in one of his first proposals for television, Warhol returned to the

Archives Study Center, The Andy Museum,

Pittsburgh, Penn., n,p.

single, unmoving camera shot in a man-

ner that explicitly related its “mechanistic impersonality” to a mode of surveillance. Warhol had recently shot a “Pop” commercial for the Schraft’s restaurant chain —a long, panning shot of a chocolate sundae that he described to an interviewer from Playboy as complete with “all the mistakes TV can make kept in. [...] It’s blurry ry, shady, out of focus.”* His next af




seriousness of the situation 1s ih dee


What's a Warhol?, in Playboy, September 1969,

p. 140, Warhol was clearly

project was to be the airing of several hours

movements and their social and, particularly, commercial interactions. Augmenting and partially displacing earlier disciplinary mechanisms, this collected data is processed either in the interests of targeted repression (still, perhaps, a primarily disciplinary device) or — more widespread and more typically within a control society marketing | and capitalization.’2

giving the advertisers what they wanted, which was A certain “underground” al. Year 5 earlier ofan unmoving, uninterrupted s surveillance he had explained to Gretche n Berg the parodic

idea of



th it would

@ camera. As he explained, “In New serve York, anc thinks those are apartments have a channel five which allows the kind ‘where you see how much dirt you can get on the film. or wher € you zoom forward, the you to watch anybody who enters the front amera Keeps getting the wrong f wr it jig " (Bers “door. That will be my show: people walking past the camera. We'll call it Nothing Special.”** According to Warhol, he even Carroll, op. cit p. 140

the metaphor

for the Schraft’s

1d. | make experimental films

entered into negotiations with NBC to air

the program from 11 at night or 1 in the : morning until 7am. 3 When asked, howN S reported



11] in Joseph Gelmis,



ever, ‘bynews aper reporter Joseph Gelmis 1@ 1969,

1L5W. ft is related This el work: Artists’ Film and Videc the 1970s ival‘picture series offer: ers an early oe "documentation of the individual's instant self-awareness in the presence of the media and of a theatrical self-presentation that connects the everyday persona with Warhol’s invention of the virtual “star.” Today, in an era of reality-TV and docusoaps, television programs like Big Brother reincarnate such experiments with the

verité of the everyday. In contrast to the



04 SU!



stereotypical images of mainstream media productions, these new genres open up the view into the realms of the unfiltered personal and private, moving these last preserves of authenticity into the public’s field of vision and granting those who previously eluded the camera’s gaze, because they do not embody exceptional stories or careers, their chance at medial “self-realization.” Andy Warhol’s use of “real time” and his preference for amateurs over professional actors leveled the ground for many other artists working in the fields of performance and video in the 1970s. At the same time, his fascination for the profoundly ordinary, the banal occupations of the everyday and the celebrification of “nobodies” also marks the beginning of an era in which media attention became the focus of social identification, the new mirror for the individual's self-perception. Warhol’s seemingly naive obsession with making everybody and everything an object of medial recording remained an artistic fiction that referred primarily to the microcosm of Warhol’s Factory community. Retrospectively, however, Warhol’s medial “working through” of the mind-numbing stream of everyday banalities is conceptually significant as an early reflection of the increasing power of the media mise-enscéne which, at least since the massive expansion of the television image in the 1960s, has exercised its conditioning influence on the public profile of postmodern

Andy Warhol Screen test: Marian Zazeela 1964, 16mm film, black-and-white, silent, 4 min The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh

individuals, leaving its traces in the very structure of intimate human interactions and in the formation of the subject. Warhol’s formulation — “Certain people have TV magic (...) The camera turns them on and off” — grasps, with seismographic intuition, the mimetic relation between the images of the media industry and the individual’s self-image, which, paradoxically, only takes on an “authentic” character in the stage-gleam of the media. The view of the camera seems to shape the contours of the subjects’ personality; outside the medial reality they lose their individuality, it remains nonexistent. Non-medialized, they become non-persons. The camera turns them on and off. Warhol’s laconic insight into the media’s existence-generating power is not without anthropological and theological connotations that directly relate to the internalized camera gaze: the all-anring. seemingly omnipresent “eye of God”® is reincarnated in the prethis motif see Astrit Schmidt-Burk chardt, The All-Seer. Ggd’s sence of the oO server in today’ s mec la

“culture; at the same time the potential surveillance character of media attention assumes the role of the new alter-ego of individual and cultural self-representation. In the age of globalization, the panopticon of the media becomes the new disciplining authority. In the context of this development, the theatricalization of all spheres of public and private life has proven one of the most striking features of our everyday experience in contemporary culture. Diverse social phenomena such as the advent of entertainment culture, fashion hype, lifestyle trends, and the cult of the gadget, the “celebrification” of politics, the branding of bodies and products and the fantasies associated with themed entertainment destinations constantly produce new patterns of identification and incorporation. These blatantly play with the aesthetic potential of pre-fabricated mise-en-scénes and have elevated the “spectacle effect” to the most dominant paradigm of our social

relations as well as our public and private rituals. The omnipresence and global reach of the media stimulate all kinds of aesthetic imitations of its techniques of conspicuous self-display, ranging from the strategic positioning of one’s own persona in the realm of the everyday, to more and more

performative acts on the political stage. As with the blurring of the boundaries between art and fashion and the rise of the cinematic experience,

a number of con-

temporary artists have highlighted the increasing theatricality of agency and social conduct by analyzing the performative patterns that circulate in the mass media. Contemporary artists have reacted with diverse strategies of deconstruction and subversion to the cultural mainstream in which distinctions between fiction and reality, actor and spectator, participation and surveillance virtually dissolve in favor of a supposed “interaction” of the public with the media reality that ultimately undermines the possibility of actual agency and political engagement. In what follows I use the twin lenses of cultural criticism and contemporary art practices to investi-

gate how the omnipresent eye of the media develops its all-absorbing power as a new cultural background for human selfawareness and representation somewhere

between voyeurism and exhibitionism and between private jouissance and public pleasure. Central to these considerations will be the question of the relationship between the omnipresent media culture and the mimetic appropriation of its aesthetic fictions. If, as Thomas Macho claims, “the



of collective

attention,” ” represents a programmatic 7 _ See Thomas

rere uisite

aoe A fo

Gesicht, [The PrSoe

Ccpercepption, t

Face}, in Manfred FaBler (ed.),

lle fe m ichen heres vr lic}at — Wanhrne.shmur 1g - oe der Kommunikation, Fink, Munich tech niques of surveillance — in the sense 1999, p. 12og]Il.

of a horizon of identification for the accumulation of media attention — may be regarded as socially accepted instruments for successful self-presentation and selfpromotion. This determines not only the

| 255

Ursula Frohne __ “Screen Tests”

decline of the distinction between private and public, but also the internalization of permanent observation as a fact at the level of social inscription. The transformation of our lives’ contexts into staged settings raises the question of the extent to which theatrical roles of self-presentation increasingly take the place of social profiles, transforming “subjects” into “figures” that primarily conform to the perceptual demands of the media’s attention. Anumber of other questions follow from this: Which conflicts does the subject have to face, when it is unable or does not want to identify with role models with which it is expected to comply? Do we have to regard these conflicts as part of the general problem of identification, or do such incompatabilities reveal how the theatricality of the everyday turns into a tragic scenario as soon as the individual’s performative transformation of his/her body and language into accepted social figures fails?® Are the new trends of staging the 8 _ In Gender

Trouble, Feminism and the

Subyersjon of


Rou Hedge, }

ork, London

i mmadulterated human” and ‘ai e unscrip-

1999 [1990] Judith Butler discusses

the “constructed and performative

dimension of gender.

“ted” in reality-TV and docu-drama there-

She characterizes “gender reality” as deriving from “naturalized knowledge

ce though jt is

fore to be understood as part ofa tendency

based on a series of cultural interferences nee of which

the entertainment industry only increases. This compulsive desire to attain telepresence, to verify and validate one’s own existence — in a kind of “screen test” — under the gaze of the media society and thereby to anchor one’s cultural selfrealization is characteristic of contemporary media narcissism. What is to be feared, then, is perhaps less the threats to our privacy from a panoptic media culture, as also David Banash maintains, than the social and cultural devaluation of anonymity, the erosion of the introspective and un-televised moments of life “not immediately readable through the lens of the spectacle.”? As ironically resonating in Bruce Nauman’s laconic phrase People Die of Exposure, these contemporary phenomena require a dialectical reading of our media addiction as well as its critique, in order to open up a perspective

on the

ethical and political implications of issues such as shame,



and social experiment in relation to the erowing desire of being “in the media” as one of the driving cultural forces in a narcissist society.

are highly Blase s,” by which she

to undermine hegemonic role models that

concludes “that what we take to be ‘real’,

what we, invoke as the naturalized knowledge of gender

circulate is, in fact, a



changeable and revisable reality.” Butler's argument,





that, “to al extent the gender

these examples signify the t ultimate expan-

norms (...) establish what will and wi}! not be intelligibly human,

what aA and iiil! not be con-

sion of| Ce media’ Ss control, whic sidered to be ‘real’,


they establish the ontological field in which bodies may be given egitim a

ticon- Ti e, CO. onizes even the realms O expression,” opens up an important perspective on the problem of media-directed

unintentional an


spontaneous (eon

formation, particularly in respect

to thsubyersion of norms with diverse methods of appropriatio

See Preface 1999, in ibid.,

xxii, th anc . ydily Inscriptions,

istance from reality, mu






P' Peat subversions, in it

increases with the virtualization of alltelations to the life world only apparently

“The Society of the Image” “Only by mastering itself through the recognition of the nullity of images does subjectivity partake in the hope that images can only, vainly, promise.” Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment

diminishes, however, when anonymous

individuals from “real life” are granted a standing in the media equal to that of professional actors (in the restricted sense of the definition). The fetishization of realtime and live-effects makes the performative effort of self-staging all the more the normative identification figure of narcissistic desire. As media performance comes to epitomize what is socially desirable, the longing of the audience to maneuver themselves into the images of





With the increasing fictionalization of our relations to the world, the boundary between private action and public presentation becomes more and more fluid. The image and information flood of the media virtualizes the conception of individual reality as well as the network of social relationships and transforms our participation in world affairs into an almost entirely image-mediated epistemology. The idea that the ongoing unsettling of all

1988 [first edition Social

connections to reality is a symptom of the effect-oriented culture industry has already been articulated by Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno. In their early analysis of mass culture’s overwhelming power they diagnosed film reception: “The more intensely and flawlessly his [the film producer’s] techniques duplicate empirical objects, the easier it is today for the illusion to prevail that the outside world is the straightforward continuation of that presented on the screen. (...) Real life is Oe ain indistinguishable from the movies.” ° Today this erspective can be Iture industry: Enlightenment as Mas extended i in an anthropological ‘direction. ted by John Cur ming, Continuum, New oe Marc “Augé suggests as much in his StudiesA nc., New Y fae


‘Characterization oof the Enects of the “new

regime of the imaginary, which nowadays touches social life, contaminating and penetrating

it to the point where


mistrust it, its reality, its meaning and the categories (identity, otherness) which

Ds Patan ee

a oie

into the reality--creating mechanisms ¢ofthe

mass media, which he takes to be common knowledge as a result of our daily dealings with artificial media reality, is almost unthinkable without the aesthetic criterion of the mise-en-scéne. In fact, the mise-en-scéne, the staging, forms the central hinge for the illusion of reality, which then motivates the audience to sublimate the deceptive character of the media, insofar as the medial fictions themselves prove suitable as a projection field for the staging of the individual’s self-image. My main concern here is to investigate this aspect of staging as a “dramaturgical reconditioning of action, as a form of conduct which is conceptualized by means of an effect-dramaturgy and the activity of staging (...) which is not limited only to the field of the (classical) arts,” but also practiced by inserting staged elements into the everyday that echo the

almost entirely medialized view of oneself.” 12 _Stefan Miiller-Doohm and Klaus Neumann-Braun

(eds), Kulturinszenierungen


e internalization ofthe control ing gaze,

Betrachtungen liber die Medien kultureller


Sinnvermittlung, in ibid. (ed,),



Foucault. i lustrated

Subrkamp, Frankfurt/M. 1994, p. 10, In their explanation of th


nee “staging” or the verb “to

the historical model of the

panopticon as

disciplining power and effective dispositif of “the planned action ging in this respectwould jn in the of modern surveillance cultures, achieve s, J a play, the technical and artistic

via the omnipresence work,

to puton stage,”

dimension it


case of the arts: the performance

ting of there

of the media, a new

Although this

of human


preparation for and dire

ording of a film, to set to

level of meaning does pot lie at the « enter of the discussion


the latent horizon of the application of the aesthetic

that no longer avoids the eye of the camera reality to the everyday, particular! in regard to its m/se-en-scéne, as an instance of “punishment, ” but instead anticipates its attention as a focal point for the articulation of personal be-

of the media

which the staging of action auto-

matically implies.

havioral patterns and as a mirror of narcissistic self-presentation. The unforeseen success of docu-soaps such as Big Brother indicates that we are on the threshold of a transition from the bureaucraticinstitutional tactics of surveillance to the medially-staged spectacle of the individual’s total surrender to the media’s regime of the gaze. The permanent conscious or uncon-

scious dialogue with medial voyeurism reveals itself with oppressive clarity in dramatic or tragic states of emergency. However, it may not be only such world shattering events as the attacks of 11 September that shake the mirroring relationship to the framing function of the media. Individual moments of crisis, in which the routine patterns of conduct collapse in an instant, also bring to consciousness the medial pre-fabrications of the “mana ement of ersonal identity”? Erving Goffman,


entice He I Ing,

Aaa the constant internaalized of “freaming” as theoretical

Englewood Ctiffs, N.J.,


1963, p. 72. The idea

socjal praxis was in fact introduced by Erving Goffman. See Erving Goff-

toring” ‘that results from our postmodern man, Frame Analysis, Haryard

University Press, Cambridge, MA 1974.

media serfdom. An episode from the life o the pop singer Jarvis Cocker, published in Interview magazine, may be read as symptomatic of the sudden “dropping out” of the role of daily performance. Cocker describes his perception of a “reality shock” like that experienced by the hero in Peter Weir’s The Truman Show (1998) when he gradually discovers that his hometown is a gigantic studio set in which his existence is the focus of a lifelong 24-hour TV show: “T believe that people nowadays are so used to the mediated version of things that when the real thing comes along it doesn’t seem as real. During my accident,

stage” the authors distinguish’ the aspect quoted here from another level of understanding, that

| 257

Ursula Frohne __ “Screen Tests”

I remember hanging from the window ledge and thinking, this is actually a dramatic situation, but it doesn’t seem dramatic. In a film, there’d have been good camera angles and music heightening the tension of the scene, but of course there wasn’t any of that, and it was actually a very mundane, pathetic thing that was happening. It was like my fingers were losing their grip, and I had to make a decision whether to allow myself to slip off or just let go. And I went, ‘One, two, three — let go.’ And then, bang. But the point is, I was mediating it even as it was happening. I don’t know whether this is acommon thing. I think it must be because people are brought up with a TV, and often you see things before you experience them. You see people kissing and falling in love on the telly before you get around to doing it yourself, and you can end up semi-jaded before you’ve actually done. Te »I4 a Venut he cri cal‘(sub--\conscious "of the mediatized public registers the colonizing tendencies of this “new regime of fiction,” legitimate skepticism towards the practices of mass media no longer gives reason to escape the camera’s view. On the contrary: the critical consensus that media reality is nothing more than a construction constitutes a new form of media savvy which simultaneously lends individuals the self-confidence to take advantage of the possibilities for the staging of their own desires for validation. Armed with analytical insights into the generally de-forming characteristics of the media, the audience’s preparedness to actively participate offensively in the appropriation and production of reality effects grows. The audience willingly takes up the perspective of co-producers who are convinced that, even if they can’t direct it completely, they can at very least actively influence the reality content of the media staging via the “introduction of their personal story’— as if the dynamic of media manipulation could be superseded by the verism of “authentic” self-presentation.





A recent example from CNN illustrates how the general mistrust of the media is no longer exhausted by a collective sense of impotence in the face of an overpowering machinery of deception, but instead creates apparent possibilities for intervention whose participatory momentum

is again

greedily absorbed by medial rhetorics of authenticity. During the shooting of a documentary about Afghanistan under the Taliban regime, a British television team was temporarily detained by the security police. The incident did not lead to the arrest of the crew and the confiscation of their equipment, as had been first feared due to the strict ban on any form of media use in Afghanistan. Instead, the film team obtained permission to continue filming on the sole condition that they carry out their work under the personal escort of the chief of the security police. In a later sequence of the film, the security chief vividly comments on the meaning and success of his “holy mission” as he guides the TV-team through parts of the city that under his watch are policed for “good morals.” What is astonishing is how uninhibitedly he interacts with the gaze of the camera, precisely that instrument of western colonization that he is charged with eliminating. The ideological contradiction of a Taliban security chief, of all people, breaking the absolute ban on the image, can be seen as symptomatic of

Isabell Heimerdinger Hollywood Bungalow 1997, installation with movie lights Isabell Heimerdinger, courtesy Galerie Mehdi Chouakri, Berlin

the belief that the “actual monopoly”? of ‘medial fictions can be escaped by performative appropriation or self-interpretation,

in other words, that the introduction of the hyper-authentic immediacy of one’s own person can correct or direct the media’s deceptive character and, finally, can also be used to position one’s own message. Naive as the self-propagandistic intention of the security chief's tactic may ap-


_ Slavoj Ziz ek,

pear to the western observer, the current entertainment media operate with precisely these methods, using the “real feelings” of “real people” to code credibility and unfiltered immediacy. Rather than serving primarily as a form for the participants’ own self-promotion, the participatory structures of reality and personalityshows instead are vehicles for the self-staging of the mass media, which in turn imparts to “real social life” the traits of a staged imitation in which people from “real life” gradually become actors in the “social imaginary” (Cornelius Castoriadis). Following Slavoj Zizek’s assessment that “the ultimate truth of the capitalist utilitarian de-spiritualized universe is the dematerialization of ‘real life’ itself, its reversal into a Spectral show,””° the “artificial

Welcome to the Desert

“nettime. org/nettime.w3.

“Tealism’; ofmedia worlds from Hollywood ~ cinema to live documentary proves to be absolutely compatible with the constructed character of the postmodern subject. This ironic insight into one’s own non-authenticity and its literalization in the selfauratizing rituals of the current “lifestyle” craze increasingly give the character of scenic (self-)staging to public and private life. Talk of theatricalization in this context implies that entangled with the media reality is a change from subject to actor and from the everyday to a stage in a transformation that is deeply bound up with media reality. Because the constructed character of sociality is as much a given today as the staged character of film images, it seems obvious to regard the media’s gaze as the new vanishing point for narcissistic desire,

which the postmodern subject then responds to by imitating and appropriating theatrical forms of presentation drawn from popular entertainment. Self-staging and the theatricalization of the everyday are performative extensions of medial fiction into reality. They create the features of “the society of the image,” as Jean Baudrillard maintains. At the same time they are an expression of a sense of loss that compensates for “the experience of the real world of material decay“”” by displacing real life experience onto the “unreal” fantasy worlds of the substanceless. Norbert Bolz’s claim that “media reality turns [...] concretely into the apriori of our world perception,” ao encompasses the 18_

Narbert Bolz,

Wer ha

notion of an impoverishment of “guthentic”

possibilities foi experience. Such an elementary loss is, according to Freud, the psychological precondition for pathological narcissism, in which the ego identifies with the lost object of its desire. For the modern subject, the hyper-reality of media worlds becomes the mirror projection of its narcissistic desire, which compensates for the progressive erosion of reality by the theatricalization of its relations to the life world. Christopher Lasch emphasizes that a diagnostic category like “narcissism” not only names a mental disorder, but in this context points as well to “normal” features of everyday life. “Narcissism, on this account, attempts to fill an internal void, to consolidate a sense of oneself in surroundings experienced as devoid of meaningful and identity-affirming

s Afraid

9 f Cyberspace?},

in Merkur,

Isabell Heimerdinger One True Time 2000, production still Isabell Heimerdinger, courtesy Galerie Mehdi Chouakri, Berlin

Ursula Frohne __ “Screen Tests”

relationship s.”"9 In the narcissistic 19 _ Raymond Barglow,


The Gris wee e Se/f in eaeof Information, Routledge, London and

f the Self’s estab blishment, the seeming

New York 1994, p. 35. See alSoCie pher Lasch, be Culture of tele sism,,W. W. Norton ¢& Comof media o bservation is, on the heAS CISSISTIC Perssonalityof pany, New York 1978, thereiniof particular_interest for this context:


one hand, internalize

Our Time” and “The Theatre of ene! Life,” pp, 31-51

, on the other,

and pp. 90-s Sd

ecomes a decisive horizon of the Self’s

narcissistic identification.

A New Economy of Attention “Mind if I use that portable keyhole?” Cora in Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window The media-dominated image of social reality has transferred the mise-en-scéne from the stage of cultural production to the side of the receptive audience: the spectator increasingly becomes not only the actor and actual creator of the “reality effect,” but the one about whose “authentic” participation the media speculates. The space formerly occupied by the audience moves into the camera’s focus and becomes the source for potential candidates for new genres made up of a hybrid mixture of reality-TV, gameshows, and social experiments.

The entertainment

industry casts its spotlight into the darkness of the auditorium, where the demographic phantom of the public had once affirmed the role of the professional actor. The disintegration of the border between inner and outer perspective on the media content that this implies promotes not only the instrumentalization of the audience for the legitimization of the voyeuristic gaze, but also the increasing internalization of the camera perspective by its recipients, who want to see themselves reflected in media reality. “Ironically,” Heather Hendershot writes, “viewers comfortably watching docu-cop shows in the privacy of their homes are themselves objectified as the commodity audience that is sold to advertisers. We look at TV; TV looks back at us.



are, in this

regard, part of adaiger picture of a surveillance society.”” ° The psyychologiical inter-

20_ Heather Hendershot, ‘What's that Camera doing?’: How Aetiviee Video Looks

nalization process

Televisual Voyeurism,

in High and pat LOSS)

260 |

Opvclt, pe ya:

Back at

that is permanently in

play in the moment of medial observation



theatricalizes all spheres of public and private life. As an external orientation point for self-interpretation, the imaginary camera eye sets the standard for various media-conforming personality formations, which operate as the new currency of symbolic capital in the negotiation of social the distinctions.” As John Miller states, " in the struggle for social recognition On the accufgulation of ipolic_ca stage is “already inside‘the heads‘ofthe =rr audience (...) The panopticon and the classical spectacle in Debord’s sense have given way to an all-encompassing medial infrastructure in which the camera no longer records everyday life but produces it itself as akind of play or ritual. ae With Jd 2:

see Pierre


the increasing consumption oof‘‘guthentic” . a image material from private scenes and intimate moments in the lives of unknown individuals the new techniques of effective “self-presentation” and “spectacularization” gain an almost obligatory social power. Under these conditions the exhibition of private life for the unhindered observation of an unknown “Other” has become a popular fascination, one that penetrates the identity-forming structures of the subject. In the interaction between the search for the “truth” and the lust for sheer sensation on the part of a promiscuous media popularity, a new readiness to give up one of the fundamental principles of civilization — that of the legally protected private _ Isabell Heimerdinger Like a True American sphere and personal intimacy — plays a 1999, production still Isabell Heimerdinger, central role. Against the backdrop of both courtesy Galerie threatening and tempting media promises, Mehdi Chouakri, Berlin

no interest seems to direct the audience anonymous people — their bedrooms, more now than the desire to rid themfridges, luxurious lofts, and student dormiselves of their intimacy and shed their last tories. The offensive showing and display“layers” of shame in front of the camera. ing of “body and soul” on so-called “neo“A new market of attention is generating _ television” or “VTV, voyeur television” narcissism, exhibitionism, voyeurism in arouses and serves much the same strucnew Playgrounds of the Mass media” _ tures of alk as did the gladiator battles Peter Weibel in “ctrl spat “thatPuts no limits on the sale of the private in antiquity.” The voyeuristic matrix of media/art award 2001, ZKM | Karlsruhe ) _ Peter Weibel mentions the affinity between the con: sumption of television shows such sphere and exposes it to the gaze of an _ the mass media suggests that a person Big Brother and Gladia 5 In ancient Rome inan interview: Sadomaso n Reinform, in image-addicted public. Andy Warhol’s watched by thousands, ¢ even millions, canpromise that everyone could be a star for

se —.

fifteen minutes has become the component of the collective self-confidence and the standard for personal self-esteem, which postmodern individuals openly payhomage to in their technological self- marketing, whether as contestants in the “Face 2000,” or as participants in the “community of shared destiny” in Big Brother’s container, or as the criminals on death row fighting for the right to have their executions broadcast. The more strongly the monopolizing tendencies of the media industry assert their influence, the more desirable the privilege of participating in the spectacle of selling one’s own skin before the eyes of the public becomes. Thanks to this promise’s success, Big Brother, which was as controversial as it was popular, and Endemol, its producer, was able to mobilize the never-ending stream of contestants: “Big Brother’ heartily welcomes youas future dweller in the Big Brother house. Fora period of1oo daysyouandnineother participants will have the chance to live together ‘back to basics’ ina house full of cameras and microphones. You will be the center of unique television project that is already a media event. ‘Big Brother’ depends on you and your attitude... You and your cohabitants contribute decisively to the ram’s success.” * alls iceman pee ¢ sg andthe Website

ao aaa ———

not be insignificant. The media apparatus


__ thus transmits a message no less fundamental to its own programmatic destiny than the postulated “cogito” is central to _ the notion of the western individual: esse est percipii (to be is to be perceived). As epistemologically unsupportable as this , formula coined by Bishop Berkeley in the eighteenth century may be, it nevertheless | persistently proves true in a media| theoretical sense day by day as collective | self-confidence is conditioned strictly ac| cording to public perception. People whose | behavior is unremarkable, who own no | headturning outfit, use no buzzwords or | -jargon drawn from a particular lifestyle, fail | to be noticed. Those who embody neither | exceptional success nor traumatic tragedy, _can boast of no repulsive features or cruel _ twists of fate, have no talent for unlimited self-effacement or fear of embarrassment, _escape public attention or disappear in the _ constant lava flow of new stimulations and offerings. Since the modern subject can_ not depend on “god or nature-given differences,” as Thomas Macho writes, it has to _ produce “the relevant, ‘social differences’ itself. Whoever plans to ‘stand out’ and wishes to rise to ‘excellence’ and ‘promi—_nence’, must ensure that his or her actions are rewarded with a maximum of attention. Among the rewards for a successful riseisa passive surplus of visibility, a kind

fales‘confirm mt that thne new reality genres vometave tecome thhan industry's

of imaginary account in which the looks of recognition that contribute see rise in

i Bmiain attraction, Search for “cam”aon the Internet and countless links pop up offer-

status can be accumulated.”*” From a social point of view, we are only existent

ing a glimpse into the private spheres of

in media society if we are able to draw the



| 261

Ursula Frohne __ “Screen Tests”

public’s attention to ourselves for at least a moment. Whoever is not “on the air” is denied existence. We only experience ourselves as real when we are able to make an “appearance.” A sense of our own life becomes tangible only when it is reproduced. The media have therefore become the last authority for self-perception, the “reality test” of the social persona: I am seen, therefore I am.

Performing the Image “As long as we are not provided with a goal worthy of our emptiness we will copy the emptiness of others and constantly regenerate the hell from which we are trying to escape.”

René Girard*” in The Body Aesthetic

“Reflectionsonhow (medial) control is transformed into self-control can be found in various artistic developments since the 1960s. New technologies such as video opened up the possibility for artists to pursue self-observation. With little effort they could simultaneously stage themselves in front of the camera and take on the director’s role. In addition to Warhol’s experiments producing unspectacular recordings of private moments and actions in real time, artists like Vito Acconci, Dan Graham, Bruce Nauman, and Joan Jonas


removed and they were retrofitted into new w ” frames made of laser-processed metal on elements. The ambient spatial structure was realized in collaboration with F.R.E.d. Rubin (Rotationsrecycling, Berlin). ascii Vision represents state-of-the-art communications history and refers back to the electronic origins of media art by visually transforming current exhibits into the original code.

asciiVision 2001, installation, mixed media,

551 x 423x177" detail visomat inc.


visomat inc.





Translated from German by y Jerem y Gaines

It ed


wo Li Pa 7


an oh ae




Media architecture

2001, installation,

visomat inc. was formed in the mid-1990s as a part of that typical Berlin crossover of media art and club culture. Its aim: to visualize music. By positioning videomixes as ;






visuals and commentary on a par with the DJs’ music mix, they created a visual and technological counterpart to the electronic minimalism of contemporary music production. For their videos, visomat inc. use material they produce themselves, splicing it with sampled images and technical graphics, documentary TV footage, JPEGs from the net, test images, or fragments from displays. They might make use of the circuit plan for an electronic device showing the results of it not functioning — simultaneously — in the guise of

ee pepe en visomat inc. Installation view

—_ZKM | Center for Art eR

recorded visual interference. In line with how electronic music functions, individual

sequences are processed rhythmically, i.e., by means of loops and repetitions. With its video installations in Berlin’s ‘WMF’ club, visomat inc. has created an infrastructure that has prompted several video artists and groups to focus on video live mixes. The Berlin club video scene that has thus emerged has a quite incomparably lively artistic breadth. Alongside the works that reference music, the group is increasingly focusing on mediabased design of interiors using analog and digital information sources. Media systems and visual worlds expand space to include an additional dimension.


visomat inc. __ asciiVision

ee aeeeneceesaaennenaeneenentmittf Seeennees Sincecaoerenseneeommmenmncat iT mati Linen auegecatnt Teun

pananvanpensnnanonvaney sgt toe

ei cameo

————— ——= a Se

|} _Ft =


——— ee CEES

asciiVision 2001, installation,

——————— SS RR

mixed media,


551 x 423 x 177

: ete



detail visomat inc.

A key factor here is the way the group observes and visualizes what is usually left concealed. visomat inc. makes use of industrial surveillance systems in the context of art and instills them with an aesthetic significance by severing the ties between security and control and placing the technology in a non-signifying setting.

asciiVision 2001, installation,








ved raat oy

In addition to constructing additional objects for surveillance, visomat inc. are currently

aye 423x177" etal visomat inc.

endeavoring to advance the idea of closed circuits. Location-specific automatic broadcasting systems which derive their contents from the immediate environment (library, festival, university, museum), independently search for relevant information in the Net, tailor it to the right format, and permit sssaciopeae ae = interaction in pre-defined channels.


= pe




visomat inc. are active along the interface of visualizing music, designing ambient interiors, and conveying contents, thus directly referring analysis and commentary to the time and place of their performance:


f ‘ reality remixed.



Norbert Harti

Translated from German by Jeremy Gaines

visomat inc.


visomat Inc, are:


N ° ° a iS wwswxoe 2 ° fr) Est a=]

Ew =. ves wT x


visomat inc.




Lewis Baltz Ronde de nuit 1992, installation, 12 Cibachrome prints, mounted on aluminum, 79 x Avon

Ronde de nuit not only marks a new artistic approach in the works of the American photographer Lewis Baltz, it also preludes a trilogy that critically examines the relationship between new technologies and social power structures. The Sites of Technology trilogy also includes Docile Bodies and Politics of Bacteria (both 1995). Today, information technology is the backbone of almost all areas of public life: traffic, administration, electricity and water supplies, the media, the army. Knowledge

1 _ Cf. letter of the artist to the

London 1977 (Original


et 2, “ais


about these technologies and their use gives power to the individual, or as Foucault says, powerover those who don’t know.’ That means power, over most of society or, in the auth flOL, Michel Foucault, Discipline and Pynish, The Birth of Prison Allen Lane case of mi litary applications, over other nations. Surveillance is an essential means of Surveiller et punir. La naissance de Ja prison, Edition Gallimard, Paris 1 control and social manipulation. It makes jit possible for people to gain that constant edge of knowledge necessary in maintaining power. The focus of interest for Lewis Baltz is the relationship between these power structures and surveillance of both the individual and society. Structures comparable with those in totalitarian states like the former GDR or the Soviet Union, which used large portions of their labor potential for espionage and surveillance, are also found in western, so-called “free” social systems. They are not just effective in amilitary context, as the Gulf War — the first modern and obviously virtual war — showed us. Here, the media were manipulated to a greater extent than ever before, with only selected pictures being shown to the public. Ronde de nuit was created at this time. In the installation, twelve large, unframed Cibachrome prints join to form a photographic wall twelve meters long and two meters high. Ronde de nuit cannot be viewed frontally; iteludes the “correct viewing distance.”” Viewers are plunged in medias res, as if this were a video-age panorama piece. The kaleidoscopic, monumental series of fragments taken from an urban environment creates a movement that draws the viewer into different layers of an urban reality that has an apocalyptic quality. “The perspective

Fria ervey deeas concerted 2s ee Oe ee ‘facades, an escalator, the interior ofa restaurant, the controlcenter of a building, cables.

Zurich/ Berlin/ New York 1998, p



Inthe original version of 1992, a voice emanating from loudspeakers reads out, in French, an alphabetical list of concepts related to the subjects high tech and power. Video technology plays a decisive role in the piece’s content. Most of the twelve singleframe exposures, especially those showing an urban space, come from police surveillance cameras. They were taken in Roubaix, a depressing industrial suburb of Lille, the “South Bronx” of France. An extensive surveillance network was installed there to monitor the high rate of an often-armed criminal sector. It controls every corner of public space and makes it possible for the police to follow any individual person from one end of the city to the other without interruption. Baltz, who moved from the USA to France in 1986, was not allowed to take photographs in Roubaix, however, he was permitted to operate the surveillance cameras for several days.* The pictures of bundled cables and a main computer in Baltz’s installation indicate the technical equipment necessary for a network



Lewis Baltz Ronde de nuit 1992, 12 Cibachrome prints, mounted on aluminum, 79 x 472” Fotomuseum Winterthur Installation view Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 1992

of these dimensions. These photographs form a second, much smaller category that is mainly grouped around the center of the installation, in which an oversized, computergenerated face watches the viewer. The photographic reproduction of the pictures corresponds to the different connotations they evoke. The surveillance camera images have a low resolution which varies within this group itself. In contrast, the pictures of the “other,” technical side of surveillance have a high resolution of photographic clarity, which directly includes the viewer in the act of surveillance. By means of photographic reproduction, the viewer takes up the same position as the artist had when he controlled the camera. However, the monumentality of the ‘surveillance’ scenes undermines this strategy. Together with the central figure looking at the viewer, which is unfocused, but does not fit into the context of “being watched,” the proportions make viewers part of the scene under surveillance. They are “watchers” and simultaneously “watched.” Baltz took the title for this work from the famous picture by Rembrandt commonly known as The Night Watch (1642). > However, Rembrandt’s painting, a commissioned The Museur n of ocile bodies.ronde.d jaH, Butler, Lew/s Baltz. The polit Contemporary Art, group portrait, shows neither a nocturnal scene nor soldiers keeping a night watchbut Los Angeles, Ram Publications, Los Ange eles 1988, p.52. rather a convivial gathering of numerous people grouped around the person ‘who commissioned the painting, an army captain. Baltz also shows a central figure in his work. Here, however, it is the monumental, computer-generated countenance of Satan surrounded by technical equipment. Baltz translates this countenance — basing it on Dante’s description in the Inferno — into the pe reality of the “data hell,” while giving it a seductive but deceptive, feminine beauty. ° The virtual power of Satan interweaves lifeiae, aes author, 233 June 2001 the same way that the photographic panels interweave the urban scenes — from the familiar interior scenes, in which we so casually deal with the data flow, to the furthest

corners of the city. It is omnipresent.

t 327

Lewis Baltz _ Ronde de nuit

Lewis Baltz Docile Bodies 1995,12 Cibachrome

prints, mounted on aluminum, 89 x 4537 Fotomuseum Winterthur Installation view Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt/M.


The title Ronde de nuit (Nightwatch) is just as deceptive as its subject’s supposedly benevolent face. For, in the form of an over-powerful virtual beauty, Satan not only watches solicitously over human life but also controls and commands it. People become marginal alongside him. The endless, circular nature of modern surveillance techniques becomes tangible here both in the technical process of taking and reproducing the photographs and in the picture of the confusing cables. However, Baltz does convey a little glimmer of hope with his title. The night watch, the paranoid stage in which Hamlet and his soldjers see his father’s ghost and, ultimately, the truth, is a stage at which the enemy’s watchfulness is weakened.’ It is only this moment 7 _ Cf. Cornelia H. Butler, opi cit.,

8 _ Original edition: Surveitler et



that allows the viewer to recognize the true|— virtual — face of Satan, and thus the true nature of data surveillance structures. The extreme and difficult proximity of the viewer to the work is a result of the original

space for which Ronde de nuit was created. Baltz developed the installation in 1992 for an exhibition in the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, where it was set up in a claustrophobically small passageway. As is the case with the surveillance system on which the work is based, the form of the installation was not meant to be completely comprehensible at first glance, purely by virtue of its enormous dimensions. What is important is that the visitor enters completely into an imaginary space that is subject to technological surveillance. Thematically, Ronde de nuit continues on from earlier photographic works of Baltz that also show buildings on a large scale and replace the pantheism of his earlier landscape photographs with the “achievements” of the urban living space (The Tract Houses, The New Industrial Parks, Park City, 1969-1992). Baltz has been working with color photographs since 1988. For him, color is less a sign of the empirical world than a means of manipulation, comparable with the focusing of the lens, the light, and the proportions in his photographs and installation. Ronde de nuit can also be read as a series of encoded pictures carrying a warning. This superordinate aspect took on a literary form by means of the audio track that accompanied the work in 1992. Like some higher authority, the words spoken seemed to warn of the vision presented. One of the main themes of Ronde de nuit is the dependence of everyday urban life on information technology and data monitoring, which are increasingly overstepping their limits and controlling everyday life. The two other installations in the trilogy, Docile Bodies and Politics of Bacteria (both 1995), focus on another area of social life in which the surveillance society is at work. Docile Bodies was created for Arsg5 in Helsinki and continues the imagery of power in the area of high-tech medical developments. Baltz, who refers in the title to Michel Foucault’s book Discipline and Punish. The Birth of the Prison,® here intensifies the subversive side of punir. La naissance de la prison. Edition Gallimard, Paris 1975, power. As long as power is only repressive, it is not as strong. Medicine based on technology puts patients at the mercy of machines and their “omnipotence.” The pictures used for



Lewis Baltz Politics of Bacteria 1995, 12 Cibachrome prints, mounted on aluminum, 89 x 472”

Fotomuseum Winterthur Installation view Schirn

Kunsthalle, Frankfurt/M.


Translated from German by Timothy Jones

Docile Bodies come mostly from French hospitals, in which technological surveillance in the body itself makes it possible for surgeons and physicists to provide the most effective and safest treatment. The body becomes a dehumanized object performed upon by knowledge. Ultimately, only those “in the know” can make decisions about the use and benefits of the new technologies, and thus also about the life of the patients. The invalid is at the mercy of this “gentle” power. Politics of Bacteria, commissioned in 1995 by the Musée d’art moderne, Villeneuve d’Ascq (Lille), for the exhibition The World affer Photography, is the last work in the trilogy. Here, Baltz clearly shows us the repressive side of power by characterizing government and administration as areas of masculinity and power. Most of the photographs were taken in the new Finance Ministry in Bercy. The b ilding, filled with state-of-the-art technology and with its own helicopter pad and wharf, provides an almost James-Bond-like backdrop. The description of the late capitalist bodyjas being an object constantly at the mercy of the abstract flow of figures, money, and the market takes up the concept of French philosophers like Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guttari. Baltz's view of the problematic entirety of the body continues his notion of cities and b ildings as being places pervaded by the flow of information. Politics of Bacteria (the title cames from Thomas Pynchon) portrays a male world built around the idea of organized force sanctioned by the state, whose different aspects are embodied by the male figures and their bodily postures. The dimensions of all three works are nearly the same (about 12 m long, 2 or 2.5 m high), as are the effects of the photographic montage technique. Baltz uses photography as a means of taking stock of situations in a sober, unromantic, clear-minded way. He leaves any personal and emotional involvement to the viewer. By replacing the illusion of photographic skill with an apparently mechanistic description using ready-made materials, Baltz turns his back on traditional artistic photography. His photographs, direct and aiming at the unfinished, contradict middle-class conventions of “seeing” and show where the problem lies. The trilogy creates a picture of the technologies that determine our daily lives to an ever greater extent and of the power structures made possible by them in their many and various forms. The process of surveillance itself is more difficult to see than the technologies that make it possible. Baltz uses these to metaphorically point to what lies behind them. His trilogy reveals characteristics of this surveillance and power system while critically questioning the current social situation and politics of power, and makes viewers aware of hidden, latent, yet omnipresent structures of power and force.?

9 _ Cf, letter of the artist ito the author, 23 June 2001.

Katrin Kaschadt

| 379

a .


lon f i>

at 7


Lev Manovich

__ Modern Surveillance Machines: Perspective, Radar, 3-D Computer Graphics, and Computer Vision


From the nineteenth century onward, modern societies depended on massive use of new visual surveillance technologies: photographic, film and video recording, video transmission, radar

and other technologies of remote sensing, 3-D computer SETS

image processing, and

computer visi

_ these eSan nels. re ate toeach SIS ightly revised

GRAPH '93 Visual

forms, two previously publis!

Proceedings, edited ‘by Thomas Lineha



BSpaoe Pdrspective, Radar

hie v York 1993, pp.'143-147; and Autor

ing the process of automation of vision that ight from Photography to Con

“started |with ‘the adaptation oof linear perspecSand

(eds), Aperture



“tive during Renaissance. From this perspective,

we can say that photography, film, and video

automate recording of images of existing reality; radar and other remote sensing technology extend perspective beyond the realm of human vision; 3-D computer graphics automate creation of perspectival

images of non-existent

reality; and, finally, image processing and





computer vision automate recognition of objects in perspectival images. Thus, each of these technologies automates a particular use of perspectival vision; at the same time,

they can be (and they often are) employed together, as they complement each other. This is because they automate a particular function, or usage, of vision, and before proceeding I would like to introduce a new term to talk about it. I99QI saw two events, of different importance and seemingly unrelated. One was the long awaited publication in English of what can probably be called the single most influential essay of modern art history — Erwin Panofsky’s Die Perspektive als ‘symbolische Form’.* The interest gene2 as Symbojic Form, Zone Books, New York 1991, rated around the re-emergence of this legendary essay, written in 1924-1925,

“demonstrates thatthe problem ofperspec0S

4 _ Paul Virilio, War and Cinema:

tival representation is still felt to be relevant to contemporary culture. The second event was the Gulf War, the outcome of which was largely predetermined by Western superiority in the techniques of perspectival representation. The images, extensively televized during the Gulf War, perfectly confirmed Paul Virilio’s thesis that modern warfare became a matter of the “logistics of perception.”* the Logistics of Perception,.Vérso, London True, broadcasts have included more traditional views of soldiers, planes, and tanks as seen from the outside, by a video camera of a reporter. But what we also saw were not just images of the war, but endless images by the means of which the war was carried out: video images from an infrared camera mounted on a plane; video images from a camera installed on a weapon guided by a laser sensor; video in its role as “battle damage assessment” where a weapon equipped with an imaging device follows a weapon of destruction and records details of the damage. This was no longer a traditional reporter’s view of a battle. We saw what the soldiers themselves saw: the images that were their only information about the enemy. More often, in a strange case

of identification we witnessed what was “seen” by a machine, a bomb, or a missile. The Gulf War was the combat of surveillance against camouflage, visibility against invisibility, human eye against computer eye. This warfare was indeed based on the “logistics of perception” but we can describe its visual techniques even more precisely. Visual perception was employed in a limited way as an instrument to capture and represent information about shapes and distances in three-dimensional space. The effectiveness of such war technologies as radar, infrared imaging, laser sensors, and 3-D computer graphics depends on the automation of this function of vision, the automation that began with the Renaissance perspective.

The use of these technologies today extends beyond warfare into all spheres of industry and science. Is there an appropriate term to describe the function of vision that they automate? For Plato, sensible particulars were but a pure reflection of Ideas or Forms. Aristotle criticized Plato declaring that the primary substances were not the Ideas but the individual things such as particular men or animals. These opposing views continued to be debated in scholastic philosophy, Plato view giving rise to realism, and Aristotle’s — to nominalism.

Rather than talking about perspectival vision and imaging in general, I would like to use the Plato — Aristotle debate to introduce a more specific term to describe modern visual surveillance technologies. This term is visual nominalism — the use of vision to capture the identity of individual objects and spaces by recording distances and shapes. Linear perspective is a technology of visual nominalism par excellence: it allows its users to create detailed maps of three-dimensional reality. Although sometimes visual surveillance reduces reality to just two-dimensions — for instance, matching fingerprints, making a line drawing of a criminal, or identifying a mood of a computer user through their facial

Lev Manovich __ Modern Surveillance Machines

expression — in general, modern visual surveillance machines operate in 3-D space. For instance, radar detects the presence of an object and informs the operator about this object’s position in space, while computer vision algorithms identify the presence of a particular object in an image by reconstructing its 3-D shape and comparing it

Yet, if perspective disappeared from modern art, it survived as one of the techniques of visual nominalism, a method for precisely representing a three-dimensional world on a two-dimensional surface. Imthis role, it extended into new domains (the whole of the electromagnetic spectrum) and became the foundation of new kinds of automated remote sensory technologies. To consider perspective in this role we should turn to William Ivins’s influential 1939 essay On the Rationalization of Sight. Ivins’s approach stands in sharp contrast to the more traditional art historical analyses of perspective by Panofsky and Francastel. They are concerned with perspective as artistic form and do not look beyond its

to various shapes stored in a database. In short, although Aristotle seemed to forget to spell this out, particular objects have unique shapes and they occupy unique positions in space — and this is what forms the basis of modern visual surveillance. As I will show in this essay, modern visual surveillance technologies automate visual nominalism in a variety of ways. The history in art. Ivins, on the contrary, is conautomation of this function of vision has cerned with visual culture — the techniques started well before the twentieth century and technologies of visual representation with the development of various perspecavailable to a society at a given moment and tival techniques and technologies: perspective machines, descriptive and per- | the fundamental role they play in shaping spective geometry, and photography. But | every aspect of society. Ivins argued that perspective allows creating precise maps of only digital computers made possible three-dimensional reality, to record the mass automation in general, including the shapes of cone objects and the layout of automation of visual nominalism. concrete spaces. ° Tiis the tool ofa businessWilliam Jv n the Rati man ae a scientist aie thanan artist. ta st ie “The most important event of the RenaisIvins’s definition, perspective is “a practical sance” means for securing a rigorous two-way, or According to a widely accepted narrative, reciprocal, metrical relationship between perspective was already dead by the time the shapes of objects as definitely located art historians such as Panofsky began in space and their representations.”” writing its history. Such narrative is anThus Ivins singles out the precise relanounced, for instance, in the very title of tionship established between objects and Pierre Francastel’s Painting and Society. their representations as the most imporBirth and Destruction of Plastic Space from Renaissance to Cubism (1952). The opening tant principle of perspective. Bruno Latour section of The Production of Space by Henri extended this idea by pointing out that this Lefebvre is equally authoritative: relationship made possible by perspective “The fact is that around rgro a certain allows us not ar to represent reality but space was shattered. It was a space of comalso to control it.®Latour sees perspectival jno Latour, Visualization and Cognition: Thinki ith Eyes and Hands, in Knowledge mon sense, of knowledge (savoir), of social representations as the “most powerful and Society: Studies it ology of Culture Past and Present, 6, 1986, pp. 1-40. practice, or political power [...]a space, too, of instrument ofpower, ”defined as e ability classical perspective and geometry, develto mobilize resources across space and oped from the Renaissance onwards on the time, to manipulate these resources at a basis of the Greek tradition (Euclid, logic) distance. For instance, we can’t measure and bodied forth in western art and phe sun in space directly, but we only need a

sophy, as in the form ofthe city an and town.” vre, The Production



of Space, Blackwell Pu



Oxford 1!

small ruler to measure it on a photograph

(perspectival image par excellence). And even if we could fly around the sun, we would still be better off studying the sun through its representations which we can bring back from the trip — because now we have unlimited time to measure, analyze, and catalog them. We can also move objects from one place to another by simply moving their representations: “You can

see a church in Rome, and carry it with you in London in such a way at to reconstruct it in London, or you can go back to Rome and amend the picture.” Finally, as Latour points out, “the two ways become a four-lane freeway! Impossible palaces can be drawn realistically, but it is also possible to draw possible objects as if they were utopian ones.” Real and imagined objects can meet ona flat space of perspectival representation. Ivins concludes his essay by stating that the beginning of the rationalization of sight through the discovery and the development of perspective “was the most important

event of the Renaissance.” The invention of perspective propelled modern empirical science, for instance biology that could now represent forms of nature with mathematic precision. It also stimulated the rise of modern engineering and manufacturing by making feasible the distribution of identical designs to far away places. Modern designers, scientists, or engineers, of course, do not simply use perspective in the form in which it was formulated by Alberti in the fifteenth century: they have at their disposal much more sophisticated techniques. According to Ivins, the rationalization of perspectival sight proceeded in two directions. On the one hand, perspective became the foundation for the development of the techniques of descriptive and perspective geometry that became a standard visual language of modern engineers and architects. On the other hand, the photographic technologies automated the creation of perspectival images. Both were the accomplishments of the nineteenth century; in fact, both

were developed more or less simultaneously. Indeed, as Ivins points out, Niépce and Talbot, the founders of photography,

were contemporaries of Monge and Poncelet, the decisive figures in the development of descriptive and perspective geometry. Radar: Seeing without Eyes Writing On Rationalization of Sight between 1936 and 1938, Ivins mentions such examples of the contemporary use of perspective as aerial photographic surveillance, classification in the field of archeology, and criminal detection.? However, all these applications of perspectival techniques already existed in the nineteenth century and, by the 1930s, did not represent the latest developments. While photo reconnaissance was first employed systematically on a mass scale during World War I, the interest in using photography for aerial surveillance existed since its invention. Nadar succeeded in exposing a photographic plate at 262 feet over Biévre, France in 1858. He was soon approached by the French Army to attempt photo reconnaissance but rejected the offer. In 1882, unmanned photo balloons were already in the air; a little later, they were joined by photo rockets both in France and in Germany. The only innovation of World War I was to combine aerial cameras with a superior flying platform — the airplane.’ Beaumont Newhal], Airborne Camera, Hastings House’Publishers In 1858, Albrecht Meyden auer, a dicritical histe

Re sf photo reconnaissance see {dango Sekuls

rector of

the Government Bui

plPhotograph: Saas the ah Essays and Photo

, New Yor k 1969.


The Instrumental |mage: Steichen at War,


oe 1973-198.

, The Press of the Nova Scotia

ublisshe roposal to use photogra hs the Logistics of Perception, for scale measurement. His roposal was Verso, London: 1989; Manuel De | anda, Policing the Spectrum, in War jn the Age of Intelligent based on the existence of a geometrical relaMachines, Zone Books, New York 1991. tionship between the photographic image and the object being photographed. Why, for instance, climb a facade of a cathedral in order to measure it (as Meydenbauer had to do, nearly getting killed once) when it is much safer to measure a photograph? Additionally, wrote Meydenbauer, “some may find it hard to believe, but experience has proven than one can see, not Pees of Art A more compreGuy Debord, Comments on the Socie ieof the Spectacié, Verso, London hensive understanding of vectoral power, its genealogy and virtuality, is called for. Sometimes, when I was a kid and I got bored with television, I would take the atlas down from its special shelf and trace the outlines of strange countries onto tracing paper. Then I would color in the maps with colored pencils. First, Iwould draw all the contours of nature. In green and blue and brown I projected an image of the ocean, the land, and the mountains. This was a jaggy mass of impassable terrains, each line uniquely tortuous and torturous. The geography of place. All craggy and squiggly and never the same twice. Then, with a fat black marker, I drew big black dots where the rivers meet the sea. And then, with a ruler, I drew nice straight lines, joining the dots — cities and

August 2001

1998, p. 4

| 397

McKenzie Wark __ To the Vector the Spoils

highways. The geography of space. The geography of second nature. Everything flattened and straightened and smoothed, like the road and the railway and the flat, plain, pure white walls of our house. Next, I took out a red marker and fetched some glasses from the kitchen. Placing the glasses over the cities, I traced red circles of varying sizes. I tried to remember how far out of town the radio faded out on those endless car trips, and which cities seemed to have different television when we went there on holidays. This is the geography of telesthesia, of perception at a distance, a new map traced on top of nature and second nature. This is the geography of a third nature connecting and coordinating the movements of people, the making of goods, the extraction of raw material from nature — and transmitting,


Michel Foucault,


all the while, images of life, from Bugs Bunny to the news and weather. I mention all this in order to explain the odd way I read Michel Foucault’s famous book Discipline and Punish.* It’s a book and Punish, Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, 1977. about the way power organizes bodies in space. One can contrast Foucault’s genealogy

of disciplinary technologies with that of vectoral technologies.’ It is not Bentham’s 5 _ McKenzie Wark, Virtual Geography: Living With @Gopal Media Events, (ndiana University Press, Panopticon® but the British Navy that is the Bloomington 1994, pp. 11-14. keyy,technological regime for putting into 6 _ Jeremy Bentham, The Panopticon Writings, Verso practice the rational ambitions of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment. As Eric Hobsbawn notes, the French revolution may have given rise to the invention of total war and the citizen army, but “tech-

7 _ Eric Hobsbawn,

The Age of ba

398 |

nically the old armies were better trained and disciplined, and where these qualities were decisive, as in naval warfare, the French were marked inferior.”” After ey Vintage Aa New York 1996, p. 85 Trafalgar an Waterloo, rench power turns inward, and becomes disciplinary, but English power remains vectoral, and becomes the model for the open, expansive powers of empire ever since. As Robert Hughes recalls in The Fatal Shore, Bentham titled one of his pamphlets



As The Panopticon or New South[he Wales?® Fatal Shore, Collins Robert Hughes, everyone who goes to school, as I did, in New South Wales, Australia, is taught, we are here because the British refused to build Bentham’s Panoptic institution,.and sent their prisoners, off and away, across the seas, bound for Botany Bay. An extensive regime of vectoral power developed, not the intensive, disciplinary one. Bentham’s

Panopticon and transpor-

tation to Botany Bay have some things in

common. They are both techniques for dealing with bodies that get in the way. In the case of both panoptic and vectoral technologies, it’s about making space visible by seeing it with an overlaid grid. A city might set aside certain sites and build enclosed, panoptic spaces on them, within which a grid and a timetable organize the movements and activities of the recalcitrant bodies. Or a city might build ships and pack those bodies off across the sea, making the vectors to and from the antipodes a way of ridding itself of bodies, but maybe also making bodies productive, setting up flows of useful goods back from the other side. Not just bodies, but the whole world becomes the object of the vector, of the potentiality of surveillance and movement. Bodies, cargoes, weapons, information: this principally naval technology produced, almost as an afterthought, colonies in what would become Canada, Australia, the United States. The vector is what produces the world as a standing reserve of resources. A vector is a technology that moves something from somewhere to somewhere else, at a given speed and cost and under certain specified conditions. They come in two kinds: those that move mostly physical objects about the place, and those that move only information. Transport and communication were once one and the same thing. Since the telegraph, communication moves at a faster rate, and is able to model and coordinate movements of ever more intricate design over great distances.






The telegraph, television, telecommunications — all are species of telesthesia. Perceptions enable powers: to perceive

e, Fourth

something is to make it a possible object of will. To order perceptions is to create the possibility of ordering the things perceived. The success of vectoral power depended on the ability to perceive the space of the world, to qualify and quantify the world as a resource, and make the space of the world one in which movements of resources can be ordered. This, quite simply, makes it a new world. A world in which a plan can be drawn on a map, and that possibility can be engineered in actuality, in the world the map perceives. What hampered mapping and moving over the oceans until the eighteenth century was the lack of an accurate way to fix the position of a ship in longitude.° An Englishman called John Harrison engineered a solution, an accurate chronometer that would whirr and tick time in a straight line on a ship tossed every which way by the sea. It binds time to its beat. This exact vector through time would allow navigators like James Cook to map their exact location in space. Harrison’s chronometer, put together

with the other tools of navigation, was already a potential map of the ocean world. Cook made much of it, actually, filling in the wavy lines of coast on the grid. A new time and space is produced — a world of possible movements,


creations, and

conflicts. Harrison’s chronometer is the ancestor of today’s global positioning technologies, which are a digital map, sextant and chronometer combined, and produce a space of far more accurate surveillance, movement and logistics.

A key element in vectoral power is the mode of representation specific to it. In his remarkable book European Vision and the South Pacific, Bernard Smith shows how the rise of British naval imperialism precipitates the fall of this neoclassical ° . . Io epresentation in the eighteenth century.

The neoclassical style pictured landscapes in terms of the Platonic ideal, and this aesthetic was institutionally enshrined in the Royal Academy. What the Navy’s pictorial artists were enjoined to perceive

were the signs of the pure form underneath the craggy outcrops of rock and imperfect specimens of plants and people. The difficulty was that as Naval explorers discovered and depicted more and more things, the less they seemed to fit into the classical order of forms. So began a revolution in the ordering of perception of the world that would lead first to Joseph Banks and eventually to Charles Darwin. If we think of an order of classification as a map of the potential order of things, then in science as in navigation, maps preceded territories. In science as in navigation, one uses a wrong map in order to find out how

to draw a more useful one. The Royal Academy favored representations of the ideal form of things; the Royal Society preferred an aesthetic based on the representation of the typical. This would emerge as a more useful kind of map for the natural order science perceived. Through its connection with scientific naval expeditions to the Pacific, the Royal Society saw to it that these more productive representations of the typical became the technique of recording what explorers like Cook and Banks found. This involves a break with the notion that what one is looking for are the pure forms underneath the rubble. Rather, the evidence is gathered in and used to create the appropriate categories.

One might classify this eighteenthcentury style of representation as a species

of empiricism. The same method developed by David Hume for exploring the archives for evidence about matters past is here applied to exploring the seas for evidence about matters present. The officers of empire record the typical features and resources of space as they map and explore, and dutifully dispatch them back in orderly series of documents. The abstract grid of

10 _ Bernard Smith, European Visionas and the South Pacific, Oxf ord iinteraty Press, Oxford 1260,

| 399

McKenzie Wark __ To the Vector the Spoils

the map fills not only with lines of coast but with lines of textual annotation and pictorial representation.

A new regime of power has taken hold of the byways of the planet. A regime not of sea lanes and ship lore, but of comsats and data flows. We live now, as Manuel Castells says, not in a space of places but a space of flows: flows of information, flows of money, flows of jobs and livelihoods." tional City, Basil Blackwell, Cambridge 198 “Third nature: new patterns of proximity, prosperity [...] and poverty. Here Iam, here



we allare, living on those maps I drewas akid. “Cyberspace,” people call it, this emergent terrain of information vectors. The novelist William Gibson popularized the term, and it caught on, spreading over the vector, naming the world the vector makes.” Cyber means to steer, from the Neuromancer, New York 1984. Greek for the rudder ofa ship and the one who steers it. Cyberspace is the emergent abstract terrain of movement, abstract just like the sea. Third nature began with the telegraph, but speeds up and proliferates in the late twentieth century. Immersed in cyberspace, in third nature, we now experience, in a new way, the three kinds of relation that people once felt about the sea. Firstly, there are imaginary relations to the other. The vector connects one to an elsewhere, but rather than think about this as relating formerly separate things together and making of them a third and different thing, people become preoccupied by the difference of the other place, and forget about what relates them. In other words, rather than seeing the relations passing between places, one sees only the borders that separate them. Rather than seeing the way different qualities mix and combine into a whole new type of space, one sees only what is strange, what is other. A point of view shared by military strategists and the more reactive element of the anti-globalization movement. Secondly, there is the world of potential relations, lurking within the vector. A




world like that of the sea. A world Hegel described as one of “honest gain and can connect A vector piratical plunder. "3Philosophy of History, iemetheus Books, the limits of within anywhere to anywhere, what is technically feasible at a given time.

So it has the potential to make connections of a certain kind, which in turn can form the basis for producing something out of what is related. Along the vector to the antipodes flows tools, skills, machines — and out of them engineers build roads and bridges, mines, and ports, and eventually what flows back along the same vector are wool and wheat and gold. A point of view shared by neo-liberal globalization and trans-national social movements. An imaginary relation projects a fantasy of how different the other place is, and forgets about what passes to and fro. It is about hanging on to an old identity, by

distinguishing it from that with which it mingles. A potential relation makes a fetish out of what passes to and fro, and deals with differences only in quantities — expenses, wages, quantities of goods and their prices; pounds, shillings, and pence. It is about making things, but always making more of the same. But there is a third relation. A virtual relation is about the differences between places and about what passes between them. It is about how places differ without forgetting they are connected, and about how they are connected without forgetting that they differ. The virtual side of a vector is all the things that might happen across the terrain it creates that are singular, unique, unrepeatable events — experiences that exceed all categories. Now that we find ourselves enmeshed in a new net of vectors, those of global communication, all the old dreams and anxieties return, under the heading of “globalization.” There’s the feeling of being caught up in new potentials. There’s the feeling of dread, of loss that goes with this, and the tendency to reach for the comfort of identity, to draw a hard line between what is


New York 1991, p. 90

‘us’ and what is foreign. But the coming of global telesthesia, of cyberspace, is also the virtual come calling. A challenge to let potentials propagate and proliferate along new lines. A way of using the knowledge surveillance generates outside of the representational orders of the ideal or the typical. The globalization of trade flows and cultural flows made possible by information technology re-opens the old wounds of identity, breaking the skin at unexpected places. The volume and velocity of information in circulation keeps rising. Popular music, cinema, and television, the raw materials of popular culture, are increasingly sold into global markets in accordance with transnational financing and marketing plans. Suddenly identity looks like it is in flux. The relations and the flows are more clearly in view than the sources or destinations. Images don’t seem to be representations any more, of the ideal or the typical. They seem to just proliferate and differentiate from each other. Singularity emerges as a representational con-

cept beyond the ideal and the typical. Differences are no longer so tied to the experience of the particularities of place. These “vertical” differences, of locality, ethnicity, nation are doubled by “horizontal” differences, determined not by being rooted in a particular place but by being plugged into a particular circuit. Both free market liberalism and the feminist movement



of contemporary

“horizontal” movements of difference, both now caught up in a crossflow with “vertical” ones of the nation and ethnicity. We vainly try to hold a shaking umbrella over forms of difference that are rapidly blowing away with the vectoral winds. And then we find that the umbrella of identity has blown away as well. This new experience of difference is an experience of an active trajectory between places, identities, formations, rather than

a drawing of borders, be they of the self or place. This is antipodality. Antipodality is

the experience of difference created by the vector. The acceleration of the vectors of transnational communication makes this antipodality more common, from Kosovo to Kansas. With satellite TV beaming into every part of the globe that can afford it, with the Internet spreading from west to east, inany people are experiencing it. In the overdeveloped world, both the culture of everyday life and the culture of scholarly thinking about the present seem to me to betray traces of unease if not downright paranoia about antipodality. Yet it is the emergent experience that yields new possibilities for art and life.

What would things be like if the vector was perfected? What if there were no blinds to keep out the light? Imagine; but imagine carefully. Don’t think utopia, the best of all possible worlds. Don’t think dystopia, which is just a utopian dream turned upside-down. Think all the consequences and possibilities at once. Think of a heterotopia, a mixing of different kinds

od ies tHegee and fle Git atSeb cy Anti-Oedipus:


What would it mean to become more abstract, ever more abstracted from the boundedness of territory and subjectivity? One can imagine a delirious future, beyond cyberspace. Not the future of Marx’s communism: from each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs. Rather the future of the abstract, virtual space of the vector made actual: where third nature is not just a space of resentful imaginings of the other, nor of feverish gambling on potentials that promise only more of the same, but a zone of indifference for free creation. Not less, but more surveillance, more movement, more proliferation of the vector, the vector democratized. The task is to identify, through the genealogy of vectoral power, the forces that make the vector a power, rather than making power vectoral, that limit and contain, within the first and second kinds of relation, the power of the third.

chizophrenia, Pres s, Lor idon


1984, p. 321.

| 401

Vito Acconci __ Following Piece 3-25 October 1969, activity, varying times, each day, “Street Works IV”-Program, organized by the Architectural League, New York

Alongside Bruce Nauman, Vito Acconci is one of those US artists whose action art in the late 1960s was referred to with the new label of “Art Performance.” Acconci describes the beginning of this new type of practice as follows: “We did not want the remote isolation of the theater, attended only by the initiate, in which only abstractions of the world

and not the dirty world itself was shown. We chose as our motto the song: Why don’t we do it on the road?” the Fact,


Acconci, who until then had been active asa poet, started in 1969 to perform what

he would otherwise have written. By 1972 he had developed over 200 conceptually structured and radical body-related pieces and performances that were extremely simple in formal terms, but psychologically highly intricate. They took place, in part with, and in part without, the audience and were documented by photographs and films. Many of them were performed on the streets of New York, others in interiors, above all galleries. His performances stand out for the use and experience of his own body, as well as the reflection on and redefinition of the relationship between public and private spheres. By disappearing in the anonymity of the streets, Acconci not only penetrates real space, but also essentially endeavors to integrate art into everyday life, such that art itself “disappears.” Following Piece is one of his early works. |The underlying idea was to randomly select on the street one of the passers-by who were| walking and to follow the person until he or she disappeared into a private place where Acconci could not enter. The act of following could last a few minutes, if the person then got into a car, or four or five hours, if the person went to a cinema or restaurant. Acconci carried out this performance every day for a month. He typed up an account of each “pursuit,” sending each account to a different member of the art community. Two experiences were crucial. During the act of following, Acconci submitted his subjective will to the movements of the person followed, and in so doing penetrated a private sphere even though he moved in the public domain. Acconci demonstrated that urban public space is defined by the random encounters between people that take place within it. At the same time, he presents us with the city street as a space where civil protection potentially breaks down. This performance is of special significance as Acconci, for the first time, deferred from defining what course the performance would take. Instead, he accorded an important role to the participation of outsiders. “I made my art by using other people.” In Following Piece, the concept of the participation of persons who did not specifically agree to participate relied on persons who did not even know that they were being used. The actual “performance” unfolded without anyone noticing. All the more important was that each piece was presented to a broader audience by means of the typewritten records and photographs. These form a constitutive part of the artwork. Acconci himself comments: “I think for a lot of us whose work began at the end of the 1960s there was a common assumption. The question is: is there a way to counter the notion of art as





Oct 8

12:04 PM, 14th St & and Ave, SW corner: Man in black sweater — he walks W on 14th St, S side ofstreet. 14:10 PM: just W of Broadway, on 14th St, I lose sight of him.

Oct 18 12:20 PM, roth St & 6th, SE corner: Man in tan jacket — he walks S on 6th Ave. 12:23 PM: he goes into Whelan’s Drug Store, 6th Ave & 8th St, 12:38 PM: he leaves Whelan’s and walks E on 8th St, N side ofstreet. 12:40 PM: at McDougal St, he crosses to other side of 8th St and sits on ledge outside Paperback Booksmith’s, 30 W 8th St; he spends next few hours there, looking around and talking to passers-by. 4:28 PM: he and woman in black cape walk E on 8th St, S side ofstreet, 5:05 PM: they turn S on Ave B, E side of street. 5:09 PM: they turn E on sth St, N side ofstreet. 5:12 PM: they enter apartement building, 725 E sth St.

Following Piece 1969, Documentation of the activity, photographs, black-andwhite, texts Vito Acconci





j .



AA, i PERSON ALKING Sie IN Ti {|o5& = re


unique object? [...] In other words, people in general were thinking of art as a kind of distribution system



more than as a unique object, a kind of newspaper report. [...] So

when I was doing a piece like Following Piece, there was no viewer or, if anything, I was the viewer. [...] I designed the way a newspaper event is designed.”* 2__


Gilbard, An Interview with Vito Acconci.

e alm was to overcome


Videoworks 1970-1978,

Afterimage, vol.

dividing line between artist and beholder/audience. A performance closely related to the concept underlying Following Piece is Proximity Piece (Room Situation) dating from 1970. Here it is not the public space of the street but that of the museum in which Acconci went into action. He snuck up to viewers and stood unpleasantly close to them. By violating the socially defined borders of personal distance, he drove the person in question into a corner. He indirectly forced them to turn away and leave. 3 _ See the exhibition Software, Jewish Museum, New York, Violations of taboos and staged interactions, evoked, for example, by means of his own person or involving outside persons, are likewise to be found in performances such as Untitled Project (Piece for Pier 17), which focused on the exposure of unpleasant or embarrassing secrets, and Security Zone, which took as its topic proof of trust shown by utter strangers. Here, Acconci increasingly accorded the viewer a more important role until, in his Command Performance (1974) the beholder donned the role of the artist and the person of the artist withdrew from the works. In Command Piece you hear the artist calling on the viewer to perform certain actions and to then feel important (“You'll certainly look great there.”). In the context of interacting with the audience, Acconci stated that his works had “hitherto been too private ... I was afraid of going beyond myself you are ... big ... ublic.”* ... and discovering the world ... you can show me, how strong 4 _ Vito Acconci, quoted from Kate Linker, Vito Ac conai, New York Acconci thus caused a confrontation in which the viewer was manipulated as a prop in a Translated from German by Jeremy Gaines


12, no. 4, 19



1994, pp. 61-62.

sadistic game, while other viewers watched voyeuristically on a second screen. Dorte Zbikowski

| 403

Vito Acconci __ Following Piece



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| 405

John Lennon/Yoko Ono Film No 6. Rape (Clip) 1969, part of a documentation by ORF, video, color, 38:18 min

Film No 6. Rape (Clip)

Raped and abandoned: Yoko Ono’s forgotten masterpiece 1969, videcstills : : : a 3 a Osterreichischer RundFor Yoko Ono, an artist who has frequently worked with the notion of “notoriety, Ferike Mien fame has had the paradoxical effect of obscuring her actual achievements. Take Rape. The Sete foeorie: most powerful and disturbing of the various concept movies that she and John Lennon _by ORF about the he ; ; ; production of Film No 6. produced, it’s also a work that, up until now,|has been all but written out of film history— —_ Rape, broadcast from unclaimed by the British, cinetheoretical, and feminist avant-gardes, the victim of an

inverted snobbery complicated by cultural amnesia. Like Ono and Lennon’s Fly, in which the Vasco da Gama of the insect world explored the Brobdingnagian terrain of the comatose nude woman for perhaps half an hour, Rape is a startlingly visceral experience — as blunt as its title. The premise for this seventy minute film comes from an Ono “film score,” published in 1968: “The cameraman will chase a girl on a street with a camera persistently until he corners her in an alley, and, if possible, until she is in a falling position.” The execution, which had its premiere over Austrian television twenty years ago this month, is one of the most violent and sexually charged movies ever made — even if flesh never touches flesh. Angst-producing from the onset, Rape opens without titles: The camera zeroes in on an attractive, long-haired woman wandering through a picturesque London cemetery (suggestive of the park in Blow Up), meets her head-on, and then tags along behind. It soon becomes evident that its prey, identified in auxiliary material as a 21-year-old Austrian named Eva Majlath, doesn’t speak English. But she’s basically amiable and makes numerous attempts to establish contact with the filmmakers in German and Italian. They are, of course, totally non-communicative, ignoring even her request for a match, while shifting the camera to keep her always in frame. The movie approximates real time. Whenever a roll of film runs out, the crew falls behind the subject, so that each new sequence begins with the exciting spectacle of their








catching up to, and startling, her anew. After the third roll, Majlath’ s composure gives way to annoyance. By the time the crew has followed her out of the park and into the street, she’s angry and frightened — so spooked that she walks into a post and, at one point, nearly steps out in front of an oncoming truck. (No one in the street appears to pay the slightest attention to her plight). When ultimately she hails a cab, the crew promptl y climbs into its own vehicle, and the film’s first movement ends with the camera still dogging her tracks as she walks morosely by the Thames. Even more frantic and oppressive, Rape’s second half has the crew invade the small apartment where Majlath is staying. She paces like a caged animal, the camera’s tight, hand-held close-ups mirroring her agitated movements as she compulsively combs her hair, babbles hysterically in German (tears of frustration streaking her elaborate eye makeup), and repeatedly attempts to open the apartment’s locked front door. All the more violent for its sunbursts and whiteouts, this section often

becomes pure kinesis. Although Majlath hides her face or halfheartedly blocks the lens, the camera shows no restraint, swarming around her opportunistically, coming in closer whenever she appears most vulnerable. As the movie ends, she makes a phone all; the sounds of her distress continue over the credits. A brief coda has Ono and Lennon dourly distorted by an extreme wide-angle lens, singing something like “Everybody had a hard year.” For a simple movie, Rape raises a multitude of questions. Although Ono’s score indicates that the film’s subject should be chosen at random, this hardly seems the case. The film is clearly some sort of setup, although it’s difficult to ascertain what kind. Majlath was obviously selected for her good looks, lack of English, and unfamiliarity with London; according to various accounts, the filmmakers obtained the key to her apartment from either her sister (whom she frequently invokes) or the building owner, then locked her in. Although Majlath never completely panics or appears to imagine herself in physical danger, she doesn’t seem complicit in her victimization — her anger and confusion are absolutely convincing. This, of course, is much of the fascination. In one sense, Rape is a particularly brutal dramatization of the Warholian discovery that the camera’s implacable stare disrupts “ordinary” behavior to enforce its own regime. In another, the film is a graphic metaphor for the ruthless surveillance that can theoretically attach itself to any citizen of the modern world. Indeed, although Ono has denied that this was her intent, it is hard not to see Rape as a reaction to the media coverage that she and Lennon had alternately courted and been victimized by at various stages of their careers. (It was shot in late November 1968 following a period of maximum, mostly adverse publicity; John was busted for hash on 18 October, his divorce proceedings began 8 November, and Yoko entered the hospital

Film No 6. Rape (Clip) 1969, videostill

Osterreichischer Rundfunk, Vienna

21 November; a week later, the album Two Virgins, with its scandalous nude cover, was

released.) But Rape is more than just a hyperbolic representation of blanket media coverage; it radically challenges the viewer’s privileged position.

| 407

Jon Lennon/Yoko Ono

Film No 6. Rape (Clip) 1969, videostills

Osterreichischer Rundfunk, Vienna

Film No 6. Rape (Clip)

Basically, Rape presents a beautiful, extremely feminine woman in peril, her situation overtly sexualized by the very title. (The opening graveyard provides a suitably gothic location.) Although this scenario is a movie staple, arguably the movie staple, the absence of a narrative strongly invites the audience to identify with the camera’s (unmistakably male) look and recognize this controlling gaze as its own. In its realization, Ono’s script becomes the purest illustration of Laura Mulvey’s celebrated essay “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema,” published eight years after Rape was made. Rape differs from Jonathan Kaplan’s The Accused, for example, in that its behaviorism cuts two ways. The sadistic aspect of “secretly” watching another person on the screen (and enjoying their powerlessness) here becomes a self-conscious and hence uncomfortable complicity. As Jonas Mekas observed when Rape was first shown in New York, “Two things are interesting to watch as the film progresses — one is the girl ... and the other is the audience.” James Hoberman




Originally published in The Village e,

17 May 1988 Reprint from James Hoberman,

Vulgar Modernism, Temple University Press, Philadelphia 1991, pp. 185-187


Sophie Calle The Shadow (Detective) 78s5, English edition (first edition in French 1981), nine gelatine silver prints, text, 28 x 96”, 12 x 8.5, one photograph, color, to x 7”to 6.5 x 30”, 11+1 panels of overall dimensions variable

On the Trail of the Ego: Sophie Calle’s Pursuits “In April 1981, at my request, my mother went to a detective agency. She hired them .





to follow me, to report on my daily activities, and to provide photographic evidence of my

[above and right]

From the installation The Shadow (Detective) 1985, gelatine silver


PD lcetion ObtnB OE

existence.” Sophie Calle uses these dispassionate terms in the introduction to her work __ Foundation, New York 1 Calle, Double Game, Viole . Sh (a)* London 1999, p, 122 . the French original ie Ca A suivre adow (Detective). 1e very artist who is famous for works in which the life of Actes Sud, Aries, 1998 (Double jeux, eg . p. 121. aeg exhibitions this explanation is mounted on the wall in colt Pio lettering "strangers is observed and investigated, subjects herself e eyes of a sleuth. Both the detective and Sophie Calle write a detailed report on the course of that one day. Whereas the principle behind a covert pursuit is normally that the observed person is unaware of being observed, in Sophie Calle’s peculiar staging it is the detective who does not realize that the person he is shadowing knows of his existence. Equipped with these facts, the spectator witnesses a strange double game: although the artist carefully plans her day, the deeper meaning of her undertakings remains a mystery to the detective. Sophie Calle leads her pursuer to places in Paris which are of personal significance to her: through the Montparnasse graveyard for example, which she crossed so often on her way to school, and to the Jardin de Luxembourg, where as a child she exchanged her first kisses, but also to her studio on rue d’Ulm and to the Louvre, where she tarries a while in front of a painting by Titian. On the borderline between everyday life and mise-en-scéne, she meets up with people who are close to her: her publisher, several friends, and finally her father, although by that time the detective has already lost track of her. The respective notes made by the artist and the detective enter into a taut fragmented dialogue, and in the end, minor divergences between the artist’s and the detective’s diaries culminate i in different versions of how the artist spent the evening of said day.” 2_ Cf, Calle, 1998, pp. 111:144; + Sophie Calle observes, pursues, and surveys the life of her fellow human beings in many of her works, constantly on the trail of the stories concealed behind the normality of everyday life. The concept artist documents the information thus gathered in texts and photographs, whereby many of her works bear the mark of an obvious skepticism about the image, especially as the often not very meaningful photographs only constitute credible evidence when seen in combination with the texts. :













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| 413

Whereas in The Shadow (Detective) Sophie Calle herself enters into the role of the observed person, she began work as an artist by temporarily pursuing strangers she met by chance on the streets of Paris. Soon she replaced this rather disorganized procedure which she recorded in diary--like notes that had no artistic ambition’ by carefully conceived s and _ The handwritten notes complemented by photographs, snippets from ¢ ily newspapers, postage mises-en- scene W. ich are often reminiscent "of sociological experiments. drawings were later edited by: Sophie Calle under the title Préambu lecf. Cajle, 1998, pp, 10-35; cf. Calle 1999, pp. 68-75 3

4 Cf.

Barbara Heinrich,

By laying down

the “rules of the game” efore carrying out such a project, it is possible for the artist to distance herself from the often very private heme of her works.* The regulated indiscreDie wahren Geschichten der Sophie Calle, in: Die wghren Geschich h71dete rhje Calle, exhib. cat. Museum tion with which Sophie Calle approaches ife of strangers becomes a formal strategy

2000, n: Noema 38/19 92

pp. 6-18, 9. 6. On Sophie Caille’s "rules of the



see Gianni Romano


Calle: Die Exotik des

and euataniees artistic freedom. 56,

rf rpp.'37-109;


Guy Scarpeta, Sophie ae Le jeu ipla distance, in: Art Press 111/1987,

The artist continued

er earl y pursuits in

pp. 17-19; p. 1



the 1980 work Suite vénitienne. This involved

Calle 1999, op, cit., pp. 76-121

a trip to Venice in pursuit of a man whom she had followed on the street, and whose acquaintance she later made by chance. Disguised ina blonde wig, raincoat, and sunglasses, she followed him through the city with a camera, noting down not only the daily events, but also her own thoughts, wishes, and disappointments. The story reached its climax in the meeting between the pursuer and the a es making any further observation impossible. Suite vénitienne seems like a sentimental cross between a diary and a detective story, a photo-novel and an investigative en Yet the photographs and texts which Sophie Calle combined to create this work provide only a vague image of the person pursued. The impression the spectator gets is of discovering a lot about the pursuer and almost nothing about the pursued. Sophie Calle undertook a renewed attempt to come closer to a stranger’s life in 1983 with her nos The Hotel, a series of 21 diptychs which show all the signs of a traveler’s ni ghtmare.° As the artist informs us, she Miers for three weeks as a housemaid in a

6 _ The first panel of these diptychs Say the untouched bed in the respective room,

and ‘under ais the detailed ge

by the

Venetian hotel, but instead of cleaning and Hd Beeg the rooms allocated to her each day,

artist; the second panel always a

a series of black- andl “ebe photographs ough|ajle isnese


hote! rooms; cf. Sophie Calle; en

cies Sud, Oke 1998 (Poke jeux, vol, 4); Calle,


e unscrupulously went



taken in oh. disorderly

trave ers’ |uggage, p hotographing individual items

1999, op. cit.,

and noting down her observations. The photographs and texts confront the spectator with

fragments of strangers’ biographies, personal peculiarities, intimate and everyday habits. Through the eyes of the artist the spectator becomes a voyeur, but even then does not gain a clear impression of these unknown persons. The aesthetic problem to which Sophie Calle skeptically devotes her attention as an artist is the potential and failure of art to make binding statements about one’s own and other people’s personalities. In The Shadow (Detective), for example, this central dilemma is highlighted in the discreparicies between the reports by the artist and the detective: although the detective, who stands for the spectator, witnesses her actions over the course of a whole day, he gains no access to the artist’s personality and is unable to sketch a portrait of her. He neither succeeds in deciphering the meaning of the places to which the artist leads him, nor of the encounters which she deliberately arranges. The photographs which

414 |



Suite Vénetienne From the series The Hotel 1983, photographs, color, panels of text, photographs black-and-white, each 40 x 57”, overall dimensions variable Sophie Calle, courtesy Arndt & Partner, Berlin Installation view Museum Friedericianum Kassel 2000 (exhibition: Die wahren Geschichten der Sophie Calle)

Sophie Calle __ The Shadow (Detective)

the detective is commissioned to take to complement his report are blurred and often shot from a great distance, so that they too contribute little toward painting an authentic portrait of the person pursued.’ / _\n the publication The Detective it is noticeable that more pictures have been used than jn the With The Shadow (Detective), as with other works, Sophie Calle addresses the theme 4


of the failure of the “myth of information,”® Despite all his rofessional routine, from his tively

ea sly recognizable

are nok

ly {in inc tuded | jn the the1 ¢ ¢

distanced perspective the detective gains no insight into the artist’s personali ty, not even when she deliberately organizes her day to include meaningful encounte rs.? Only the UT Nehama Guralni K opnie True Stories yi aphie in Calle: J True Stories, . exhib a spectator who sees Sophie Calle’s notes as parti of Calle: awork of art gets some impression of the artist’s efforts to shape the course of her day so as to produce a represent ative image, and thereby acquires insight into her (artistic) individuality. Ultimately it is here that the art-theoretical dimension of Sophie Calle’s work becomes clear: her investigative pursuits, be they real or invented, certainly bear witness to the artist’s personal obsession, but more than anything else they bear witness to the failure of art to penetrate a stranger’s life, to understand and grasp it through observation.


transjated from Gern by Pauline Cumbers



In partic ular, photo:

Wbition version of the work


Heinrich, op.

Tel Aviv Museum



of Art, 1997,

5-2 16

p. 29)

Petra Gordiiren

Hotel Room 29/March 6, 1983, photograph, color, text, 417 x 57.5”

Sophie Calle, courtesy Arndt & Partner, Berlin

Hotel Room 29/March 6, 1983, photographs, black-and-white, 417x 57.57 Sophie Calle, courtesy Arndt & Partner, Berlin

| 415

Laura Kurgan New York, September 11, 2001

Four Days Later... 2001, digital print on pre-laminated paper from Ikonos satellite data of 15 September 2001 by Space Imaging, r pixel = 1 meter, 669 x 236°

...as seen by the Ikonos satellite, a high-resolution snapshot from outer space of a city in a state of emergency. The satellite monitors the Earth’s surface, collecting data. On Saturday morning at 11:54 a.m., in between the satellite and the bodies of more than 5,000 people, a cloud of smoke slowly drifts away from the disaster. There is a lot to see in this picture, too much in fact. The density of its detail demands that it be viewed close up. But there is no single thing to look for, and no particular piece of evidence which tells the decisive story. In the gallery the entire image is enlarged, too large to see all at once. The zoom offers no revelation, though, no instant of enlightenment

and no sublime incomprehension either. It tells many stories. What has happened? This image should not exist, nor should the event it has captured. Although the crime is not, in fact, unrepresentable — here you sef it — it is unacceptable. The image makes us witnesses: it is imperative that we look at it. The satellite’s sensors capture a mass grave, what remains of a crime or an act of war. Nothing can justify or rationalize what happened here. Unfortunately, or fortunately, the image itself offers no instructions about how to understand or respond to what it has recorded in memory. One-meter resolution satellite images of|the aftermath of the event: detailed pictures of a disaster. The image on the left was collected at 11:43 a.m. EDT on 12 Sept. 2001; the one on the right at 11:54 a.m. EDT on 15 Sept. 2001 by Space Imaging’s Ikonos, the world’s first highresolution commercial earth imaging satellite. It travels 661 kilometers above the Earth’s surface at a speed of 7 km per second, orbiting the planet once every ninety-eight minutes. The image on the left was downloaded as a 25-megabyte file from Space Imaging’s website. The image on the right was purchased, at a cost of several thousand dollars, in the form of a 323-megabyte data file from Space Imaging, and forms the basis of the images in this installation.


New York, September

11, 2001 Four Days Later 2001, digital print on pre-laminated paper from Ikonos satellite data of September 15,

2001 by Space Imaging, 1 pixel = 1 meter, 669 x 236” details Laura Kurgan





According to the company, “one-meter resolution” means that “objects that are one meter in size on the ground can be distinguished, provided those objects are well removed from other objects and have separate and distinct visual characteristics. One-meter imagery cannot ‘see’ individual people.” Image analyst John Pike says, more simply, “generally you need one pixel to detect, about four lines of pixels to recognize, and about six lines of pixels to identify a target.” “As democratic norms spread, as civil society grows stronger and more effective in its demands for information around the world, as globalization gives people an ever greater stake in knowing more about what is going on in other parts of the world, and as technology makes such knowledge easier to attain, transparency would appear to be the ineluctable wave of the future. The legitimacy of remote sensing satellites is part of this global trend toward transparency. Imagery from high-resolution satellites is becoming available now not only because technology has advanced to the point of making the imagery a potential source of substantial profits, but because governmental policies permit, and indeed encourage, such satellites to be operated. Yet as is always the case with increases in transparency, not everyone benefits and not all uses of the resulting information are benign.”

New York, September ‘11, 2001 Four Days Later 2001, digital print on pre-laminated paper from Ikonos satellite data of September 15, 2001 by Space Imaging, 1 pixel = 1 meter, 669 x 236” detail Laura Kurgan Actual scale of pixels in gallery. Emergency vehicles on.

the West Side Highway at West 12th Street.

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, “No More Secrets?” June 1999

| 417

Laura Kurgan __ New York, September 11, 2001 Four Days Later ...

‘ ' ' ! ! 1 H ‘ ' ‘ ' ' 1 1 1 1 1 1 ‘ ' ' 1 1

CNN reported, in January 2000, that “the sort of spy-in-the-sky images previously available only to intelligence agencies and defense departments are now within reach of almost all the rest of us.” They “make everyone an eyewitness in a world in which anyone — not just Big Brother — can be watching,” wrote The Los Angeles Times in June 2001. High-resolution satellite images are one of our most powerful metaphors for a supposed transition from an age of surveillance to one of transparency: an all-seeing image, potentially of any point on earth, available to almost anyone, rich in data that can be used for purposes we cannot even predict. But what is this image? It wants to represent the incomprehensible magnitude of the event. With the sublimity proper to a catastrophe, it offers the view from above, from “overhead,” in which the city is seen in the midst of an emergency. It tries to see everything at once, everything that cannot usually be seen with the human eye. ‘





tie Time: 15:54 GMT | Acquisition Date; 2001-09-15




| |




17 meters

New York, September

11, 2001 Four Days Later 2001, digital print on pre-laminated paper from Ikonos satellite data of September 15,

2001 by Space Imaging, 1 pixel = 1 meter, 669 x 2367 Laura Kurgan

| 419

Laura Kurgan

New York, September 11, 2001 Four Days Later ...

The buildings are missing, disintegrated into a vast zone of ruin. The city is quiet, except for intensive activity around the site. There are trucks along ominously empty highways removing the debris. New York City’s rigorous urban grids are broken up by the shadows of the buildings which remain, but also by the dust and smoke and the rubble of the very large buildings which have collapsed. At 11:54 in the morning, four days later, the

image says, this is what it all looked like. But the image offers only a certain kind of evidence. When the pixels finally reveal themselves as simply the pixels that make up the image, they are as silent as what they are picturing. This evidence reveals little, and is forensically of little use. But the pixels will stay, here on this image, even as the debris is removed, day by day, from the site. At least we will always be able to locate the rubble here. . So if in fact transparency is trivial, and nothing new is discovered about the event, we must rather say: here it is, the event is encoded right here, by the light that has traveled from the ground to the satellite, and captured in an instant as the memory of this event. As data. Mutable, yes, but no less a memory all the same.



New York, September

11, 2001 Four Days Later

2001, digital print on pre-laminated paper from Ikonos satellite data of September 15, 2001 by Space Imaging, 1 pixel = 1 meter,

669 x 236" detail Laura Kurgan World Trade Center site.

L] Spectral signature: blue=71 green=76 red=61 lut value=2 55

74 00'48'W 40 42'43'N ++


What is missing from this image is what is missing now from the city or the world, and it is always missing at the limits of one-meter resolution, for all its detail. What is missing are the missing, over 5,000 people now presumed dead. Beneath or beyond the limits of visibility, of data, are the dead. And yet they remain in the image, in the ruin of

Large-format printing courtesy Nomad Worldwide, New York

the image, and ask something of us.

Includes material

© Space Imaging LLC

The ruin is still on fire. Smoke hovers nearby, displaced from the site by the wind. It does not cast a shadow, the way a cloud further to the south obscures the area near the rubble of the World Trade Center. During the weeks following 11 September, one could not always register directly what had happened in the city — until the wind changed direction and you could smell the smoke. It is hard to isolate anything on this image. When one tries to isolate the disaster site by selecting similar pixels, the image processing software tends to equate rubble with buildings. But it can isolate the smoke, and what remains hazily below the smoke. So choose a pixel in the middle of the disaster site — it has a longitude and a latitude and a spectral signature. The software can then associate this pixel with similar pixels, and the area can grow to define the most changeable part of the site: the cloud of smoke that bears witness to the crime. Displaced, caught in motion, it records a particular moment of 11 September, four days later. Laura Kurgan

| 421

Harun Farocki | believed to see prisoners 2000, video projection, single channel version, 25 min

Eye 2001, video projection, two DVD 25 min


1. On TV, the 1991 Gulf War appeared very different from the wars before and after- _—Eye : : : Peete waes : 2001, videostills wards. It was shown mainly from the air through images of projectiles homing in on their —_—_7«m | Mediathek, videotargets. While the war was in progress, Virilio wrote a book about the way it was being pres_“llection, Karlsruhe ented and over the following years these images appeared to be constantly re-shown and commented upon. But this war did not leave a lasting impression. At the end of hostilities, George Bush enjoyed an extremely high degree of popular support but one year later he was not relected. 2. “People talk about ‘real time’ when the computer simulation of a process is simultaneous with the same process outside the computer in what we call the real world, and takes the same length of time. Real time occurs in the head of the missiles and both simulates and actually guides the missiles’ flight (depending on how they have been programmed). Real time occurs when the same program that determines how the missile flies runs on the computer in Commander Schwarzkopf’s quarters and the missile on the screen explodes at the same time as the actual missile when it hits its programmed target. This has more than nothing — it has absolutely nothing — to do with LIVE transmission. [...] In most of the pictures of missile strikes cleared for our SONY by US HQ, I was unable to tell whether these were the images taken by the missile homing in to its target or the images seen by the pilot on the screen in his cockpit, or one of the images from the computer screen at command HQ. If it is the image from the photographed bomb, at the point when it appears on screen we experience the utter identity between bomb and reporter (not the identity between bomb and the spectator who is also involved in the shooting process). Not only are we also involved in the on-screen shooting process, indeed we are the targets of these real-time images of missile strikes. When it is impossible’to distinguish




between photographed and simulated images then it is not only the images that have been removed from their spatial coordinates, but we too and time asa quality of the image becomes fictitious. During real-time processes we cease to exist as historica l beings and become caught up in the computer simulation even though we are living creatures. The computerized images of war extinguish the difference between simulated and real events, the difference between historical time and technically/electronically simulat ed time. It becomes potentially impossible to decide whether something occurs and what

occurs and whether it occurs at the same time we see it. The people who died in Iraq in real time underneath filming bombs were already being treated by the machinery like simulated people. The military censorship decided no less than to show us only this kind, wherever possible. What this means is both abolishing the ‘authentic image’ (the famous image with its ‘dog tag’, indicating time and location around its neck) and abolishing the eyes as the organ that bears witness to history.” (Klaus Theweleit, in: Lettre International, no. 12, 1991) 3. Cruise missiles have the data relating to their target areas stored and they photograph their current locations using a camera. They compare the actual and the hypothetical image, a pattern recognition program looks for correspondences, particular rural or urban landscape formations. A navigation aid for motor vehicles developed at the Fraunhofer Institute in Karlsruhe functions in exactly the same way. Based on the data contained in a map, GPU pinpoints the current location of the vehicle, which is equipped with a camera. A pattern recognition program reads the markings on the freeway and, if the street has no markings, it reads the curbstones or the lampposts and then marks the correspondences with false colors. Robots with the ability to cooperate are currently being tested at Munich’s Technical University work in exactly the same way. Going by the name of autonomous systems, these robots have camera eyes and compare what they “see” with the spatial data they have stored: the ground plan, the position of any fittings in the room. They then allocate to the latter any accidentals such as the positions of the other robots or human traffic.

Ich glaubte Gefangene zu sehen | believed to see prisoners 2000, videostill Courtesy Harun Farocki Filmproduktion

| 423

Harun Farocki __ | believed to see prisoners __ Eye

According to Karl Marx the regularity of the honeycomb puts human workers to shame, but the latter’s superiority comes from the fact that they can plan their activities. And this is exactly what the “autonomous robots” do; they simulate a movement in a CA representation before actually executing it. 4. According to Ute Bernhardt/Ingo Ruhmann, (Computer im Krieg: die elektronische Potenzmaschine, in: Computer als Medium, ed. Bolz/Kittler/Tholen, Munich 1994) although the images of missiles homing in to their targets were extremely effective and much talked about, these images were not of new weapons. Most of the “intelligent” weapons used in the war were laser-guided bombs which functioned in exactly the same way as those used in the Vietnam War. In other words, this was not a matter of using new weapons but rather of promulgating an image policy different from the one in the Vietnam War. In the latter case the foundations were laid for conducting electronic warfare, for example with attempts at an electronic fence to monitor the border between North and South Vietnam. But what was shown were the small outfits engaging in skirmishes as if conducting a duel. In laser-guided bombs, a sensor follows a laser beam, a simple switch steers the

bombs’ fins. This is a further refinement of the beam-riding guidance systems used as long ago as World War II. And by no means accurately: General Schwarzkopf reported that 24 bombs needed to be dropped in order to hit a bridge in Iraq. The images from the Gulf War are a reminder of the fact that the|computer was a product of the war and was not born of a civilian need. The images that amazed us in the Gulf War are only a small part of the C3] cycle now permanently in place throughout the world.|(C3I stands for command, control, communications and intelligence.) Global and tactical early warning systems, site surveillance with seismic, acoustic, and radar sensors, radio direction finding, systems to monitor the news put out by the enemy, and the use of jamming transmitters to disrupt all this equipment). Today, the above is more important than force or kilotons. “The reconnaissance systems deployed on the battlefield have [...] multiplied as never before because if one side wants to fight its enemy’s second echelon over a distance of many kilometers it needs to know just where the enemy is located and what its own weapons are capable of. Satellites, aircraft assisted systems such as the Joint Surveillance and Target Attack System (JSTARS) and remote-controlled or “autonomous” drones collected radar, infrared and video sensor data. These data were transmitted to the computers forming part of the various situation appraisal and analysis systems on the battlefield. From here, the relevant information was passed on to the computers controlling all kinds of weapons systems. [...] This makes it possible ... [to] follow the positions of individual soldiers anywhere on earth to within a few meters, to transmit information to them or to allow them to pass on important video material by means of appropriate equipment, which is the size of a suitcase. [...] The global C3I system has revived the military strategist’s hill, something long considered passé, in the form of a cybernetic system. [...] This makes all the difference with regard to the comments of those critical to the Gulf War. What we saw was a small part of the larger picture. The purpose of the C31 system is not to act independently or to allow the commanders to ‘be there’. Its purpose is to project the latter’s authority of command onto the battlefield.” The thinking behind this is: the better military action can be controlled, the easier it is to calculate in political terms.

5. Theweleit talks about “filming bombs.” These projectiles could also be described as hara-kiri cameras. Camera aiming at one single final image. Which calls to mind phrases





Auge Eye 2001, installation view ZKM | Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe 2001

like: “To make a film, you need to be prepared to kill someone, you need to be prepared to die for one camera setting.”

Translated from German

by Jeremy Gaines

What I am planning here is a parallel montage, a comparison between two sets of images: to contrast the image of “historical time” with the image of “technical/electronic time’; to compare the mass of data with the planned model, the program image registered within a piece of equipment versus the real image of its environment. In the 1920s, parallel or contrasting montages were considered the truly cinematographic method of linking images. After a time, the enthusiasm for the technique evaporated. It transpired that the contrasts that can be highlighted in an image, in a comparison, are all too often trivial. What matters here is the difference between the similar. 6. The question of “conversion” may also be considered in terms of montage. This word used to indicate the process of turning to the true faith was seized upon by the peace movement and now indicates the pacific use of military products. The “pacific use” of atomic energy has demonstrated just how difficult it is to discard a destructive quality. Little remains of the pathos of the formula “from swords to plough-shares” if we consider how inventions for the military sphere such as short waveradio and stereo sound bolstered the entertainment industry in the post-war era. With the end of the eastern block, the budgets for military technology were cut. Today, many companies in the United States involved in C3] are attempting to market non-military products, particularly in the field of property protection and production monitoring. If the images of the Gulf War are propaganda images lauding the power of information technology, then the same also applies to the non-military domain. We see bombs detonating and do not fail to understand that this is not a question of conquering other countries or destroying capital. In the images of destruction, information technology also presents itself as a new continent offering greater scope than the old world. More activity, greater riches. Harun Farocki, August 2001

| 425

Paul Bush The Rumour of True Things 1996, video, black-and-white, sound, 26 min

“There is no longer wisdom — only the products of its decay remain — one is folly which has all the comfort and assurance of wisdom without any of its substance — the other is the rumour of true things.”

Walter Benjamin Most of the moving images produced for science, industry, commerce, and medicine are seen only by specialized audiences, are engaged primarily in terms of their analytic, diagnostic, or functional value, and are often discarded soon after they are made. The Rumour of True Things is constructed entirely from such moving image ephemera which it effectively rescues both from the trashbin of history and from the myopia of the










The Rumour of True Things 1996, videostills ZKM | Mediathek, videocollection, Karlsruhe

exclusively pragmatic gaze. Insisting that one look carefully at this wide-ranging collection of technical visualizations with a gaze sensitive to their status as images (and thus always already also as cultural symptoms), the video compiles footage taken from computer games, weapons testing systems, flight simulators, satellite cameras, sonograms, production lines, monitoring and marriage agency tapes. In the process Paul Bush constructs a constellation of comparative tracking logics from the year 1996, a lyrical database of found video and sound that can be read as a social physiognomy of surveillant aesthetics very much in the spirit of Benjamin’s “profane illumination.” Hektor Holz

| 427

ART + COM —__ TerraVision 1994-2001, networked interactive installation, dimensions variable

In 1492, Martin Behaim manufactured probably the first complete globe displaying the earth. Five hundred years after Martin Behaim, ART+COM started with the preparations for the design of a digital globe. On the basis |of topographic raster data in connection with satellite and aerial images, we were able to present the results of these preparations for the first time in 1994 to an international circle of|experts in Kyoto under the name Terra Vision.

Terra Vision is a complete, virtual 1:1 map of the earth. One of Terra Vision’s outstanding ith the aid ofa globe-like device called Earthtracker, users can move across the virtual globe interactively in realtime and approach any desired spot at will. The display and the resolution are only limited by the quality of the available satellite or aerial images of the corresponding location. For Germany and many other places in the world, the highest resolution is, currently, approximately thirty meters. However, if desired, it is possible to seamlessly integrate aerial shots of any resolution. This way one can even see individual people on some shots of the earth’s surface. Terra Vision does not just enable a detailed and highly realistic visualization of the earth, but also a location-specific (geo-referential) dynamic visualization of geophysical and cultural events that have taken place or are taking place in, on, or above the earth. The events are integrated into the system as separate “data layers” such as transparent cloud images, temperature charts, buildings, districts or cities, temporal courses of geophysical as well as demographic processes like global warming, migrations, etc. Depending on the type of information, these layers can also depict static and even dynamic situations. Cultural and historical events can also be integrated in the system in the shape of films. Additional data layers can be established through telephone connections and websites represented as 3D-icons. Finally, the virtual Terra Vision-world can be further enriched by connecting globally distributed web-cams and live satellite images. The Terra Vision-system was developed as a commission of Deutsche Telekom Berkom GmbH. Today, it is a stationary high-end presentation system that has been exhibited since 1994 as a standard for virtual applications. With increasing data transmission rates in cyberspace, the system can also function as a net-based application. While often exhibited within the museum context, through the integration of optional data layers, the possibility of continuous zooming, different data holdings and the visualization of complex information and knowledge bases in realtime, TerraVision is also suitable as a planning tool for decision-makers in politics, economics and the sciences. features is the human-to-machine interface.






Terra Vision 1994-2001, networked interactive installation, dimensions variable ART+COM

| 429

Marko Peljhan __ Makrolab 1997-2007, environment, various technologies

Makrolab 1997-2007, environment various technologies Marko Peljhan

EMM - electronic media monitoring console from WORLD-INFORMATION.ORG 2000 BRUSSELS The basic setup of the electronic media monitoring unit provides an all-purpose scanning and electronic interception environment covering various bands of the electromagnetic spectrum: Based on Makrolab, a processual work-machine that is continuously developed content-wise and in its technological aspects applying methods for the augmentation of maximum sensory awareness and sensory connection through satellite receivers, microwave links, short-wave radio and network connections. The system uses

space-control data for representations of air traffic and routing. In his work, Marko Peljhan frequently employs technology from the military-industrial complex. With the projects Projekt Atol and Makrolab, Peljhan started to create an autonomous communication and distribution system as a post-apocalyptic tool in 1992. Makrolab was first presented in 1997 during documenta Xin Kassel. Peljhan’s artistic work is based on modular architecture, encrypted high-frequency, short-wave communication, sustainable energy and food production, networks and integration systems, publications and lectures. Marko Peljhan, born in Nova Goricia, Slovakia, in 1969, started to experiment with amateur radio communication and technology already at an early age. >Link:

http://world-information.org/wio/program/events/993044054/993046896/993046938 is the link to the site and the online documentation about the work. >Link: http://makrolab.ljudmila.org holds a lot of information on Makrolab and the artist.

The project was done in collaboration with World-Information.Org.





fan ee 4


Makrolab 1997-2007, environment various technologies details Marko Peljhan


ae i« Seer

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MAKROLAB 1997-2007

The Makrolab was conceived in the mid-1990s as a ten-year integral project, a fusion of art, science, and communication technology; a mobile and ecologically sustainable living, research and communication unit. Makrolab is designed as an autonomous environment, powered by sustainable sources of energy (solar and wind power), and for a long existence in an isolated environment where it can withstand extreme natural conditions. It has three basic structural dimensions — analytical, processual, and performative — and is interested in the integral research of three dynamic global systems and fields that are: telecommunications; weather and climate; and migration. It makes use of scientific and technological tools, knowledge and systems and projects them in the social domain of art. One of the primary communication media that the project uses is its website (http: //makrolab.ljudmila.org), and others include direct satellite radio and data transmission, microwave, very high frequency and high frequency links. Telecommunication as the main aspect of the project is concentrated on the discovery and recording of the events which take place in the densely-populated, abstract areas of the electromagnetic spectrum. It is created as the process of transcribing invisible and vague micro-environmental activities into traditional, three-dimensional textures — documents. The project will end in 2007, when it will be set up as a permanent art/science facility in the Antarctic. From then on, a new, not-for-profit international foundation, will take over the manage-

ment of the project. Marko Peljhan


Peter Fend —_ Ocean Earth-EOSAT 1985, satellite photographs

__ News Room 1990, installation

From Eyes in the Sky, Profitable Images

A Small Business Is Built On Satellite Photographs Terry Trucco

London — Seated in the tea lounge of the Hyde Park Hotel, Peter Fend thumbs through his photo collection. Like most pictures of Earth taken from satellites, his do not look like much to the unschooled eye. But Mr. Fend’s explanations help to put things in perspective. The big irregular blur on the shot of the border between Iran and Iraq is a gigantic manmade water obstacle built by Iraq to repulse|enemy attack. Air views of the Gulf of Sidra area reveal a Libyan air base with SA-5 Soviet anti-aircraft facilities. And other photos show the sites of Soviet SS-20 missiles. The subjects may be sensitive, but Mr. Hend's pictures are neither secret nor stolen. Taken by Landsat, the US civilian satellite that regularly scans the globe, they are part of the public domain. Most already have appeared in newspapers and on television in Europe and the United States. It is unlikely, however, that they would have been seen at all without the involvement of Mr. Fend’s company, the Ocean Earth Construction and Development Corp. Since 1982, Ocean Earth has built a burgeoning business by retrieving land images from civilian satellites, analyzing them with the help of experts and selling them to research institutes and news organizations. The British Broadcasting Co., Antenne 2 in France and television networks in the United States are among the customers. Some of the company's site-monitoring projects have been straightforward, such as research on weather patterns in the Amazon basin and a study showing how the African desert has spread into the Sahel region during the past three years. But its civilian spy operations, as one observer called them, are what has kept Ocean Earth in business. Since the 1982 Falkland Islands war, the company has processed and analyzed satellite data from such trouble spots as Nicaragua, Lebanon, and Chad. Industry sources say the tiny company is probably the only one of its kind. “What we do is contract work, and military sites are where the interest is,” said Mr.

Fend. Most of the company’s projects are now initiated by news organizations, though research institutes have helped underwrite some projects. Some of Ocean Earth’s activities have provoked controversy. Much of this centers on the company’s analysis of satellite data, which has not always earned the highest marks. “They tend to be a bit hasty in publishing some of their findings,” said one of the Ocean Earth’s North American strategic advisers. “But if they take enough time, they can be on target.”





Landsat imagery deposited with Sygma Press of then-Soviet mobile missile bases. These demonstrated that one

could detect changes in the “stationary structures,” which were subject to removal under SALT II. Ocean Earth-

EOSAT, 1985 Black-and-white photographs of Yur’ya mobile missile bases. Ocean Earth-EOSAT, 1985. Represented by Sygmy Press

eter Fend _ Ocean Earth-EOSAT __ News Room

Others have criticized the clarity of the company’s photos, which Mr. Fend admits needs improvement. Yet Ocean Earth’s basic concept seems to have been accepted by at least part of the western intelligence community. Mr. Fend has managed to assemble a core of military and academic strategic experts in Europe and North America who are willing to study and analyze satellite data. “Our feeling is that if the material does not compromise security and can be interpreted sensibly to provide better understanding, there is no reason not to make it available to the public,” said a British military expert who has worked on several Ocean Earth projects. The pictures are crude compared with the sophisticated US Defense Department reconnaissance satellites that are said to be able to show people’s faces or numbers on license plates, all from an altitude of more than 150 miles (245 kilometers). Yet nonmilitary satellites can provide a good overview when weather and other conditions are right, Mr. Fend said. “We can see enough to let the public know what various

governments are doing and whether they are telling the truth,” he added. In many ways, Mr. Fend and his company seem unlikely adjuncts to the spy business ~as unlikely as Ocean Earth’s origins. The company grew out of an art exhibition Mr. Fend held in the late 1970s at a New York gallery. The show, entitled: Art of the State, explored the notion of artists as Earth monitors, using their visual skills to turn images beamed to Earth by satellite into art. Mr. Fend founded Ocean Earth in 1980. cquiring satellite data takes time, but thanks to the “open skies” policy then observed by the US government, everything the company wanted from Landsat eventually became available. The original idea was for the company to take on general projects related to conservation, ecology, and land use throughout the world. But when Mr. Fend wound up with satellite data on the Falklands in 1982, he decided his company could just as easily process something in much greater demand — pictures of war zones. “We knew we had the means tp grow,” he said. Though it is headquartered in Diisseldorf and New York, Ocean Earth has done much of its work at the museums, galleries, universities, and other institutions where its loosely assembled staff happen to be working. “One of the American network people told me, ‘You guys have put this thing together with baling wire and bubble gum’, which is true,” Mr. Fend said, “but at least we’re doing it.” Last year the company made a $ 100,000 profit. The future, Mr. Fend hopes, will be less precarious. President Ronald Reagan’s repeal of the “open skies” law will make it increasingly difficult for Ocean Earth to obtain all the Landsat data it wants. But the company has already contracted to get material from Spot-1, a French satellite launched Friday. At the moment, Ocean Earth seems to have the field to itself, partly because of the difficulty of data retrieval and processing. A typical Ocean Earth project, like its study last year of Soviet SS-20 bases for CBS television in the United States and for Dutch television,

takes at least six months. In addition to dealing with satellite images, the company must work on high-resolution display computers, which allow the data to be mixed and matched in a variety of ways. Aerial radar data can be combined with Landsat data. Where applicable, Magsat data, which reveals magnetic concentrations and mineral deposits, is added. The final pictures come from looking at dozens of images.





Reprint from International Herald Tribune, London, 26 Febr. 1986

Situation in the Gulf at 1 July 1986. The “Fish Lake” structure was clearly advancing. Astonishing aspects of these and other satellite photographs include: (1) the fact that no one in the public, not even most experts or heads of state, had any knowledge of these Titanic efforts, with the cost of a million lives; (2) the fact that the structures aligned conceptually, visually, physically, structurally, and functionally with works by Earth Artists from roughly ten to twenty _ years before. What artists had been conceiving in the West was

The overlay indicates

Global Survey/Survey Global 1985

where the Iraqis were, inside Iran.

Sources AVHRR
















SAR,20 m




here, in the non-West,

being not just conceived but also realized. Only military and covert efforts by outside parties blocked realization. Ocean Earth/EOSAT.

The objective of Ocean Earth Construction and Development Corporation may be apprehended from this lineup of sources: to produce video signals or products of any site or situation on earth as monitored by any number of remote sensors with differing spectral capacities, resolutions, and times.

heute, exhib. cat. Neue Galerie am Landesmuseum Joanneum, Graz,

Reliance on any one satellite source is not sufficient. The remote sensing industry fails to develop because (1) most image-distribution programs involve only one or two sources and (2) no streamline is formed from satellite-earth data flow to multiple-image, continuous display. A cascade of spectral data arrives from space at ground stations throughout the world. Only a trickle is occasionally converted into imagery, and almost always that imagery is distributed as, in effect, sample photographs. We intend to help sustain

Peter Weibel (ed.), Oktagon, Stuttgart 1994, p. 37

the cascade as a video flow.

Reprint from Ocean Earth. 1980 bis

| 435

Peter Fend _ Ocean Earth-EOSAT __ News Room

At American Fine Arts Company, January — February 1990, without people. Reveals the basic ingredients of a NEWS ROOM: the bank of monitors, for comparative news clip review the logo the work table with files and a chance to clip from different newspapers or videocopies of newscasts the opposing wall maps, one of geopolitics and political geography, the other of ecology and physical problems the clocks, here designed and arranged by Kirsten Mosher the theme sculpture in the waiting room, a globe on a giant branding iron, designed by Kirsten Mosher with joint copyright in design of globe by Ocean Earth the theme sculpture about geopolitics in the

reception area, the “Mine and Yours” piece by Taro Suzuki: an overhead camera and computer terminal for digitization and review against additional data of the site, specific video recording and viewing capabilities with lights and chairs, a studio for visitors, colored tape for application to the wall maps for continued updating of news events against the global maps, the news-wire service terminal



Satellite Monitoring for the Media, 1989 After discovering that media releases can involve national security, Ocean Earth began formulating a set of principles which it believed would be vital to sound development of the civil satellite industry. Ocean Earth has refined some of those principles, fixing them rather firmly by mid-1985, and it has chosen to stand by those principles. Ocean Earth has been conscious that satellite monitoring bears serious political implications, and that establishing a stable, private-enterprise procedure may be more a political than technical challenge. For this reason, Ocean Earth has maintained attention more to precedent, more to the long-term consequences of one pr another action, than to convenience. The principles held by Ocean Earth, and individually voiced by its participants Taro Suzuki, George Chaikin, Colleen Fitzgibbon,|Paul Sharits, Eve Vaterlaus, Joan Waltemath, Sante Scardillo and Peter Fend, reflect rather common codes of conduct in academic research and journalism. 1. If scientific data are to be commercially available, then the supplier of the data shall have no control over the use, interpretation, or publication of findings from that data, except of course to prevent outright abuse of fraud. 2. If satellite data are to be commercially available and releasable as well through mass media, with or without interpretations, then only independent, unattached parties may release the imagery. Release is a function of the press, and the press must be independent of governments. 3. Any governmental or other supplier of satellite data can choose to not release to the public certain data for a certain site, but it must declare that as a matter of policy, and must therefore, in effect, declare certain sites to be off limits to public scrutiny for a certain length of time. 4. Contracts are sacrosanct. They must be kept, and, if violated, must be enforced. 5. In matters of vital public importance and not affecting national military security, in matters central to public decision making about long-term policies, the public has not only a right but also a responsibility to be informed. Otherwise, democracy has no meaning. 6. Although of course the military or intelligence services may work with civil satellite data, and although they may even (as they do) give themselves priority or exclusive access to certain civil satellite data for certain sites, such intelligence work should be kept totally separate from whatever private, unattached parties might do with whatever satellite data might be made available to them. In line with these principles, Ocean Earth and its individual participants have formulated, in their different voices, a number of operating rules for Ocean Earth. The rules have been proposed for the civil-satellite industry.



1. No sales or services to any military, or to any government agency with any covert or

intelligence-related objectives, shall be mixed in with or related to sales or services to the press, or to other non-military clients. One cannot mix media and the military. 2. If satellite data are not made available to private parties for public release, then such data shall be considered as classified, and public record should be made of that fact. 3. Any interpretation gleaned from satellite data, along with whatever other sources might be found, shall be considered as just that, an interpretation, subject to countermanding interpretations by other parties, in|the open and free competition of publishing parties. It is better to have a variety of errors by private parties, with truth being found only after public disputation, than to forcibly prevent the airing of conflicting or even erroneous views. 4. Copyright shall be assignable to the parties responsible for distinct aspects of publication: it is divisible, for example, ampng the supplier of data, the analyst of data guaranteeing scientific calibre of imagery, anid the interpreter or chronicler of site-analysis from the data and selected imagery. This allows for various versions of copyrighted imagery, or even of copyrighted interpretation of imagery, on a given body of publicly-available data. 5. In the case of international mediation with satellite evidence from publicly-released commercial satellite data, as it might be conducted by, say, the United Nations, the sole

The site, with people: most people entering the gallery would not realize that it was a gallery. It-wasn’t.

source of any evidence, imagery, or interpretations must be private parties unattached to

Reprint from Ocean Earth. 1980 bis heute, exhib. cat. Neue Galerie am Landesmuseum Joanneum, Graz, Peter Weibe! (ed.), Oktagon Stuttgart 1994, p. 58

any government. If the data released are commercially available they must remain commercial; they must remain unclassified, available as a commercial product, with or without interpretations or analyses provided by non-governmental entities. 6. In the event of violations of any of the cited principles or rules, any individual or entity engaged in civil earth monitoring must — for the sake of precedent — speak up. As a political scientist at the Council on Foreign Relations told us, we can come to a situation where, for reasons of security, there is no choice.

| 437

Richard Lowenberg __ Satellite Communications


1986, image intensified Nightscope photograph, 20° in diameter

The [...] photographs were produced with two distinct surveillance imaging systems. The Litton M-gr1 Nightscope (image intensified lens) attached to a Nikormat, was used at military industrial facilities undercover at night, or in dark interior spaces. The Nightscope can amplify a minimal illumination source (starlight) up to 20,000 times. The photographic act was completely hidden in darkness. Still video frames were produced with an FLiR systems series 2000 infrared thermal imager, and a Quantex digital image processor. Videotape was recorded of a specifically choreographed performance series occuring in complete darkness. Audiences could sense the performance in all ways other than sight. The FLiR imager, a gimbaled, aircraft mountable aerial surveillance system, senses in the eight to fourteen micron region ofthe infrared spectrum. It displays only the variations in temperature; not light. The system was completely obscure to the performers amd audience. In this age, increasingly shaped by communications and technology, humanity is becoming acutely sensitive to its frail security. The rationalism of science continues to accelerate the conflict between global mind|and local body. Energy and information are now our major exchangeable natural resour¢es. They constitute the basic components of the value system in a newly emerging econo ic structure. Within this framework, the arts are recognized for their communicative efficiency and transcendence. The processes of creativity, though elusive, have led mankird through historical mazes of uncertainty. In the information society, the arts assume an economic value comparable to that of the military in an industrial society. The heritage of life urgently calls for a cultural ecology. The best defense is a cultural offense.

Richard Lowenberg





Reprint from Surveillance. An Exhibition of Video, Photography, Installations, cat. Los Angeles rary Exhibitions,

s 1987, p. 34

Satellite Communications Receiver Air Force Satellite Control Facility, Sunnyvale, California: 3:00 a.m. January 1986 Image intensified Nightscope photograph, 20” in diameter

grabber s FRE

Jenny Marketou TAYSTES.net 2001, online webproject: http://www. TAYSTES.net Jenny Marketou


Dan Graham

__ An American Family


in face to face, intimate,

family or

family-like groups within home or home-like

architectural settings (the bar, the TV room), TV's main subject is the family. TV might be metaphorically visualized as a mirror in which

the viewing family 3 an idealized, ideologically distorted reflection of itself represen-

ted in television's typicat genres: the situation comedy, the domestic comedy,

or the soap

opera. Where TV represents typical American families, it symbolically represents an image of the American family to itself. Other types of programs,

while not overtly representing

the American family, are organized covertly as

family structures. In the local “happy news” program, for instance, the “team” of news-

represent an idealized


family at their leisure: somewhere

happy between

work and play or just after work is done and where they “can be themselves.” They are a








distorted reflection of many real family groups at dinner time or cocktail (happy)

hour watching the news. An American Family, produced in 1971 by Craig Gilbert for American Educational Television, was a twelve part weekly, one hour filmed documentary which was shot and edited nine months prior to its airing. It dealt with the domestic life of the Loud family of Santa Barbara. They had been selected as fairly typical, experiencing all the tensions which seemed to be pulling the nuclear family apart. As a concept, the series perhaps owed something to Alan King’s CBS-TV one hour documentary, A Married Couple, to the camera style of Fred Wiseman, and to some of Warhol’s theories and his intrusive but deadpan camera work. Craig Gilbert’s premise was that the series would function like an anthropological field study, but instead of documenting an exotic culture, it would study the viewers’ own culture at a time nearly concurrent with its viewing. As Gilbert put it: “If I film any one American

family over a long period of time, I will expose the myth, the value systems, the ways of interacting that are American and apply in some way to all of us.” The Louds would seem to be “representative” of the families the viewer saw most nights on TV. Horace Newcome, in TV: The Most Popular Art, notes: “The children are rock musicians, dancers, concerned with school, their friends, their pets. Their problems are with

money, cars and part-time work. To the degree that they see themselves this way, and to the degree that they play for the ever-present cameras, they become part of television’s fantasy world. As the eldest son puts it: ‘Everybody wants to star in their own TV series, don’t they>’” (This is a paraphrase of his hero Andy Warhol’s statement “In the future everybody will be a star for fifteen minutes”). “But as the series progresses we see more and more differences between the families of TV and the families of reality. The Loud family are

not the slick, witty group we find in The Brady Bunch nor are they the classy professionals of The Partridge Family. Their adolescent difficulties are not resolved with the ease of Father Knows Best.” When the show first appeared, the reaction of the public was adverse. An idealization of the American family was placed in doubt: The Louds were thought to be typically representative of the American family. Either the program or the Loud’s lifestyle were termed “negative”; the editing was considered biased. According to their subjective reference point, critics thought the show to be an attack on the “shallow, petty, and materialistic” aspects of the American family or of only the affluent, California family. The Louds were viewed as an “all too typical but not like us” or totally atypical and a deliberate misrepresentation of the normal American family. It was difficult at first to separate viewer subjectivity as projected onto the program from the actual film screened. As no “voice-over” narration or story line

imposed on the film footage, it was difficult to establish a common “objective” frame of reference. Many in the audience knew somebody who actually knew one of the Louds. A viewer could not easily identify with another American family so close to itself without the use of the objectifying conventions of “TV reality.” Identity is established more comfortably with an ideologically distanced/distorted image of a viewer/viewing family — in other words, an idealization. The images of the Louds were literally too close to a mirror image to establish an unproblematic identity or to empathize with. Another objection to the series was that it was an invasion of privacy — a pandering to the viewer’s voyeurism. This objection overlooked the existence of more exploitational programs like Candid Camera or The Newlywed Game. More importantly, it overlooks the inherent voyeurism in the TV viewing apparatus: viewers are placed

| 443

Dan Graham __ An American Family

in the positions of concealed “Peeping Toms” in their relation to the one-way image. Because of the absence of many normally operative conventions such as a story line and various editing rules which tend to conceal it, An American Family gave the viewer a self-awareness of TV’s latent voyeurism. The Louds, due to the negative feedback, publically objected to the series’ representation of them. Pat Loud told an interviewer from her local paper: “I think we’re a very well adjusted family.” She then appeared on the Tonight Show, where she defended the family and accused the producers and editors of the series of presenting a distorted impression of the Louds’ life. Because of her appearance on the Carson show the public developed a sympathy for her “exploitation” and identified positively with her and the rest of the family. Through the print media, the public became aware that Pat and Bill had begun divorce proceedings during the filming of the series. On other TV and radio talk shows the entire Loud family discussed








how their lives were being affected by the public’s response to An American family. This response to the series was, in turn, affected by the audience’s exposure to the Louds in magazines and on TV after the filmed events had taken place. The family had now been mediated through a number of different perspectives: through magazines like Time, in newspapers, on talk shows, and through the less self-conscious perspective of the earlier filming. Where at first the Louds were rejected as perhaps being too close to real life, their status was now validated by the public. They were no longer seen as “normal people” (like the audience) but as stars. The media transformed Pat into a symbol of all middleaged female divorcees struggling both for a new life for herself and to hold her family together. Lance, the oldest son, became a hero for young, newly liberated gays. The short history of An American Family surely did substantiate the prediction that “in the future, everyone will be a star for fifteen minutes.”

First published in G

Barbara Kruger (ed.), 5: A Collection of wut Television,

A large Advent video projection screen is placed on the front lawn, facing pedestrians on the sidewalk. It shows an image of whatever TV program is being watched by the family on their TV set within the house. When the set is off, the video projector is off: when the channels are being changed, this is seen on the enlarged public screen outside the house.

Dan Graham Video Projection Outside Home 1978, model, mixed media, 9 x 30.25 x 20” Courtesy Marian Goodman Gallery, New York

Dan Graham Video Projection Outside Home 1996, temporary installation in private home, 1347 Santa Rosa Avenue, Santa Barbara, California


Geoffrey Batchen

Guilty Pleasures

Photography was conceived around 1800, at about the same time then as Jeremy Bentham’s

panopticon. This, and the photograph’ sFapid | incorporation into ‘modernity’s disciplinary ese ota apparatus,

has led a

number of scholars to

examine how “photography served to introduce the panopticon principl le into daily Irlife. ae It's

certain lytrue Y t


re thei invention



of photographywas anriounc need in1839, there | were suggestions that| aroomsized camera

obscura be erected in Glasgow for the perma: nent surveillance of the passing population. , pp. 6-9; Allan

ula, The Body and

r 39



3-64; Geoffrey Batchen,


;_ ae

Photography, Power

tay thismeans, thenecessity ofsending out vin emissaries toreconnoitre theconduct ofthe

and Representation,



since everything — lieges would be ‘superseded, s would then take place, as it were, under the

eye of the Police. vi Now, Of course, wearecon-

stantly beingsurveyed by cameras that fulfill this very same function, creating, as Michel

of Photography,

rom thesees

Bus Photographs New York


silver print

ee 11, 1, 1987, p. 37

Foucault described, “a state of conscious and

| 447

Geoffrey Batchen __ Guilty Pleasures

permanent visibility that assures the automatic functioning of power. "4 Soit’s fair to 4 Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, Penguin, 1977, p 7AD WIS say that a panoptic _principple has always So-called security cameras are now. i nstantly mont png by in major American i been inscribed at the very heart of photoEuropean cities. In Tampa, Florida, one palic & depz aed t.has recently nae


these c ameras to

y’S operation in our culture.

face-recognition software so that cri fae suspects

can be more

gasily ident ified anc

But so “has another aspect of

See Dana Canedy, Tampa Scans = Faces in its Crowds for Criminals, in:

5 _ The equation of surveillance and a guilty, voyeurism was made

explicit in aphyAlpern’ s

everabbrief survey ofphotograp

of a men's


lance, the desire to see without being seen. This kind of desire, automatically identified with sexual voyeurism and therefore with perversion, is for the same reason usually assumed to belong ee at the margins of modern social activity.” How-

4 July 2001, pp. Al, All.


arrested. |

The New York Times,

project, titled Dirty;\Windows.

Alpern set up her, ee

reveals that this

club and surreptitiously


’s history

he es a]wees

articular gu

photographed the sex and drugs being hee


here, She

as always been right there at the center of

soon came to feel the guilty pleasure that so often seems to accompany such,pent

“t used ne

1C e medium, motivating a significant and

have a recurring dream. it went like this: I'm spying on some a se if thev Brow rot surp rising y varie ody of survelllancesuddenly,

the subject becomes aware off my “eerae loaks WyWe lock eyes. | know I'm in

type images. big trouble. | gasp and wake up.” Myp Alpern,

Dirty,Windows, Scala, Zurich 1995

William Henry Fox Talbot.

eEEnglish inventor of photography, William Henry Fox Talbot, was, for example, in the habit of leaving his small camera obscura lying around the grounds of his estate to allow for the long exposure times necessary to his photogenic drawings. This detached prosthesis of his own eye would

From the life,

record the outlines of his house, but also

Goddard instructs





Henneman and Porter anything else that might venture into its 8 April 1842 salt print from acalotype. field of vision and hang around long negative in one ¢ i i 1842, this is in inBeenenraden dodo no ugh ( oes in Wissenschaften, Munich cluded himself, standing by a door). His ialid







wife Constance once called such cameras “mousetrap,” a nickname that points to their small size as well as their hidden, potentially dangerous capacities for capturing things. Talbot’s French rival Louis Daguerre made similarly lengthy exposures from his studio window, looking down onto the Boulevard du Temple to inadvertently record a boot-black and his customer standing still on the street below. Hippolyte Bayard, another French pioneer, made further examples of these sorts of photographs, showing fellow citizens going about their daily lives completely unaware that they were being photographed. These three early practitioners thereby initiated a photographic tradition of surreptitious street photography that continues to this day. What are even more interesting, however, are those images made by early photographers in which people are asked to pose as if they are unaware of the camera’s presence. In a tableau vivant staged for Talbot’s camera on 17 August 1843, six subjects pretend to take tea around a table set up on the lawn outside his house, Lacock Abbey. All of them carefully avoid looking into the camera, as if Talbot and ourselves (who now look through that camera’s eye) are invisible to them, as if we are seeing them from the vantage point of a modern surveillance camera. Talbot made numerous images of this sort, showing his family, friends, and servants playing chess, sawing wood, making transactions, or engaged in conversation. This “acting between living persons,” as John Herschel called it, borrowed its conventions from both a popular parlor game and from history painting, and before that from carved sculptural friezes. The images that result often retain this sense of two-dimensionality, with figures carefully displayed in shallow space for a camera they are nevertheless strenuously pretending is not really there. In Talbot’s picture of John Goddard speaking to two companions, taken on 8 April 1842, he even has one of

the listeners leaning forward over the back of a chair precariously balanced on only two legs, while Goddard’s left hand has its fingers curled upward as if caught in midspeech. These complex poses had to be held for over a minute if the impression was to be left that this photograph was indeed taken, as Talbot putit, “from the life.23 This impression was even more diligently pursued in the 1840s by David Hill and Robert Adamson in Edinburgh. The subjects of their many portraits almost never look directly at the camera, assuming instead a casual demeanour that denies their careful staging and composition. This “candid camera” aesthetic was maintained when the two Scotsmen took a series of calotype pictures of the community living in the small fishing village of Newhaven in about 1845. The apparent naturalness of the poses and settings in these pictures, and in particular the illusion that no one is aware of being photographed, provides them with a sense of truth and objectivity that was obviously dear to the photographers and, they assumed, to their _ prospective customers. é It also helped to

‘distinguish theirr portraits; from theformal, ‘and formulaic, work of most commercial daguerreotype studios, in which subjects were carefully arranged to appear more ideal in the picture than they were in reality. So at what point, and why, did the “unposed” come to be equated with “life”? And under what circumstances did seeing without being seen become a central trope of photographic image making? I have elsewhere tried to show how the emergence of a desire to photograph in the early nineteenth century was accompanied by a number of significant shifts in, for example, subjectivity, time, and representation; shifts that were absolutely necessary to photography’s conception but were also imbricated in the broader formation of

modernity itself. One consequence of these changes was a gradual loss of faith in the values and world-view of the eighteenth

century. Before photography, the ideal picture was associated with artifice and calculation, as evidenced by the self-conscious reiteration of established conventions of beauty. With the invention of our modern notions of history and time, reality becomes the new ideal, a reality released from the cultured orchestration of the human hand. Romantic artists like John Constable and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, for example, sought to capture the contingent, the momentary, and the unplanned in paint or words, as if to finally give nature its own head. Modern life, “the life,” was signified by the clear separation of the dynamic present from a static past. At the same moment, both Constable and Coleridge recognized that their very means of expression had become a problem. Representation was no longer transparent

to the thing being represented, and neither was the human eye. What one saw was dependent on the conditions of seeing, on

how one saw, even on who was doing the seeing (and on the consciousness of oe observer and observed of thatt seeing). See my “Des There were two ‘possible solutions to. Camb this problem. The artist could acknowledge that all representation was a subjective artifice and make that fact a visible part of his or her expression, allowing paint to become an overt presence on the surface of the canvas or treating words as obdurate things to be manipulated and struggled with. The other solution was to replace the eye with a reliable mechanical substitute (photography) and as much as possible erase any signs of human mediation in the making of the image; in other words, to produce non-subjective images that appear to let us see without being seen. This second inclination, already signalled in Talbot’s tableaux and Hill and Adamson’s candid portraits, was facilitated by the introduction of hand-held, rapidexposure cameras in the late nineteenth century, allowing surveillance imagery to become an important photographic

| 449

Geoffrey Batchen __ Guilty Pleasures

aesthetic. Such cameras were made practicable by the use of dry gelatin plates, first put on the market in 1873, and with these faster, more sensitive plates also came the need for photographic shutters. One of the first of the cameras that incorporated both was Thomas Bolas’ so-called “Detective” camera of 1881, and the name soon caught on, as did the secretive taking of photographs it implied. “The idea of a hidden camera, observing without being observed, appealed to a sense of curiousity and fit in well with the rise in detective and mystery fiction in the popular literature of the _day.”° Indeed, the photographic journals Roy Flukinger, Larry Schaaf, 2 id Sfandish

Meagham, Pay/ Martin: Victorian Photographer,

were soon flooded with advertisements for

s, Austin

1977, pp.




detective cameras designed to look like watches, books, parcels, cravats, buttons, purses, hats, revolvers, and even walking sticks! J. Robinson & Sons, for example, promoted their “Secret Camera” in The Amateur Photographer of 25 May 1888 with a woodcut illustration that showed a circular camera apparatus worn behind a man’s coat, its lens poking through a button hole. It could take six pictures at a time on a circular glass plate and required no focusing. Over 15,000 of these kinds of concealed vest cameras were sold between 1886 and 1889, mostly to amateurs (but also, apparently, to artists, journalists, and the police). According to the Philadelphia Photographer of 16 October 1886, “It can do more mischief than its weight in dynamite, or more good than its weight in gold, according to the disposition and will »1O of the person who pulls the string. ie

10 _ As reported in an advertisement featured in Harpers Magazine, September

cat ee

Concealed vest camera,


in: /nage,



persons was a Mr Horace

Engle, an amateur photographer living in Pennsylvania. His 150 surviving images, each one and five-eighths inches in diameter, were made with a Gray-Stirn Concealed Vest Camera, first patented in July 1886. They show the kinds of compositions one might expect, such as a close view of four people going into a temperance meeting, none of them looking at the camera and with the man on the right severely cropped.






Another view shows a Memorial Day parade in Indianapolis taken on May 30, 1888, with the rows of marching soldiers heading straight for the hidden camera and thereby creating a deep sense of spatial recession. The formal qualities of other pictures seem less dependent on this kind of technology, for example a portrait of a fruit tree (although the spreading

branches that fill the circular framing

create a strikingly abstract image)" ig









Photographyof Horacg

critical of

the limited use to which such cameras were put. “Among the many ‘detective’ and other instantaneous pictures one sees

at the various exhibitions, it is a little singular how very few there are of ‘street life’ ... very few indeed of work and every day life as seen in the streets of our large towns.”"” This couldn’t be said of the 2 Hen41, Williams, E in: International Shooting in the streets, work of Englishman Paul Martin. His camera of choice was Jonathan Fallowfield’s Facile Hand Camera, designed to be wrapped in brown paper like a parcel (‘Ease, Simplicity, and Pleasure, The Cheapest and most Perfect yet offered, The Sensation of 1890, Unobtrusive Appearance”). With this instrument under his arm Martin was able to take a series of “instantaneous” exposures of ordinary British life, showing incidents such as carriage accidents or arrests as they happened but also scenes of ordinary people enjoying the beach at Yarmouth or selling goods and services on the street. He often used these photos as transparencies to illustrate anecdotal lectures on contemporary English life. His images show social life as a surface parade of incidental events and interactions that are of interest in themselves, a genre of naturalism without any traditional artistic or spiritual qualities. But they also demonstrate a new kind of erotic relationship to photographing itself. “It is impossible to describe the thrill which taking the first snap without being noticed gave one, and the relief at not being followed by urchins, who just


89, as quoted


ibid, p. 29.

as one is going to take a photograph stand rightin front shouting ‘Take me, guv’nor’.”? Ted In Martin might also have been relieved not to be followed by the police. The invasive nature of this kind of photography had quickly become an issue of concern. Contributors to the Glasgow Herald of 1891 complained of “the disgraceful attitude of photographing anyone against his will,” while the 1898 British Journal ofPhotography fulminated against “the hand-camera fiends who ‘snap-shot’ ladies as they emerge from their morning dip at the seaside, or loving couples quietly reading under a shady rock, or surreptitiously photograph private picniking parties and then show the results at lantern entertainments ... when they have been caught in the act, their cameras have been forcibly emptied and themselves unceremoniously treated.” Permits were soon required for photographing in public places like parks, with “persons and groups of persons” explicitly excluded as potential photographic subjects. At least one photographer was prosecuted

and convicted for ignoring this restriction.* It turned out that surveillance was the prerogative of the state, not the individual. In 1888, George Eastman of Rochester, New York introduced the first Kodak camera, a hand-held instrument loaded at his factory with a roll of paper coated with gelatino-bromide emulsion allowing 100 circular exposures, each 21/2 inches in diameter. With one product, Eastman had transformed photography using methods of standardization, mass manufacture and mass marketing that were to bring the medium into the hands of people in the millions. But he also made a “detective” sensibility the bedrock of popular photography. One result was the accelerated production of the amateur, mobile, informal and varied snapshot type image with which we are all so familiar today. Although many snapshots retained the formal, centralized compositions of commercial photography, they were also used to record

those things once thought to be too common to be worth recording: the momentary, the everyday, the banal, the purely personal. Some amateurs naturally exploited the capacity of this smaller camera to catch a photographic subject unawares and thus apes the perceived tyranny of the pose.” ns: So fromabout the turnofthetwentieth century, at photographers hadtie techiicale means at their disposal to take pictures unbeknownst to the subjects of those pictures. What’s interesting then is how many serious practitioners deliberately avoid this possibility. In the pictures made in this period by Jacob Riis and Lewis Hine for example, both dedicated in their different ways to the documentation of the living and working conditions of working class immigrants in New York city, the subjects almost always look directly into the camera. It’s as if this overt acknowledgment of the camera’s temporary presence in their lives will in some way compensate for its intrusion (shortly to be followed by that of the state). But this kind of pose also helps combat the sense, already well-established in the public mind, that hand-held cameras are synonymous with an unwarranted surveillance. Hine’s portraits of immigrants arriving at Ellis Island, which he began taking with a small camera in 1905, set out to induce an empathy between them and us, both by conjuring established visual rhetorics such as images of the Madonna and by providing a direct exchange of our respective gazes, a shared humanity. At the same time, Hine establishes a set of conventions for the “ethical” photograph, conventions that eschew the “bad habits” of detective photography while retaining its claims to naturalism. There is no trickery here, his images say; no one has been taken unawares or against their consent. People stand facing the camera, but they do not “pose,” and they are not being tricked or exploited. “The average person believes implicitly that the photo-

An Alternat

| 451

Walker Evans From the series

[Subway Portrait] 1938-41, gelatine silver print

The Getty Museum Collection, Los Angeles

graph cannot falsify. Of course, you and I know that this unbounded faith in the integrity of the photograph is often rudely shaken, for, while photographs may not lie, liars may photograph. It becomes necessary, then, in our revelation of the truth, to see to it that the camera we depend upon contracts no bad habits. “te nay, help | in thesocial uplift (1909) Although 1 Hine wasand not employed by on Photography, Leete’s New Have “the Farm Security| ‘Administration to document the effects of the Great Depres-






sion on America’s farming community in

the 1930s, his notion of an ethical photography remains a visible trace in the work of Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, and the others who were so employed. Their subjects once again often look squarely into the camera, a stance that speaks to a complicity between photographer and subject and a directness of contact between us and them (we look at them, but they look out at








us too).” But this directness also speaks of Pe a photographic honesty necessary to ‘the is popul effective propa tion ofNew.Deal welfare at woman without ber policies, the task towhich these images was dedicated. The subsequent celebration of this documentary tradition makes the personal images made by Evans in the New York subway in 1938 and 1941 all the more striking. Sitting in subway cars with a hidden Leica camera, Evans made a large series of pictures (“true portraiture” he called it) of the faces of those sitting across from him; capturing them in that “special state” when “the guard is down and the mask is off.” An odd claimreally, for never is the eption



a selection

guard sc 80 up:as‘when ‘one i is sittingopposite farper's Bazaar,









strangers on public transport. Anditis this guarded blankness of expression that Evans did indeed capture with his invasive camera on those darkened train rides, a


of t yeS





Walker Evans From the series [Subway Portrait] 1938-41, gelatine silver print The Getty Museum Collection, Los Angeles

sameness of expression spanning class, gender and racial differences and that even now remains impenetrable and opaque. One recent observer of these photographs claims that Evans “unconsciously recorded the claustrophobia and anxiety of a nation caught between the Depression and World War II.”’? Perhaps it is precisely these as Ekland, Unclassified: 4 Walker A ek Zu Sorts of fanciful pop-psychology projec. “tions ‘that Evans hoped to induce from future viewers. But it seems from his own unpublished notes that he also hoped to invent a kind of photographic disinterestedness, a combination of objective recording and surrealist play that is very distinct from documentary. “Theorists claim almost everything for the camera except the negation that it can be made not to think, and not to translate its operator’s emotion. ... Iwould like to be able to state flatly that sixty-two people

came unconsciously into range before an impersonal fixed recording machine during a certain time period, and that all those individuals who came into the film frame were photographed, and photographed without any human selection for the moment of lens exposure. I do claim that this series of pictures is the nearest to such a pure record that the tools and supplies and the practical intelligence at my disposal could accomplish.” “In America, people do not look at each other publicly much. The well bred consider it staring, and therefore bad form. ... I remember my first experience as a café sitter in Europe. There is staring that startles the American. I tried to analyze it and came out with the realisation that the European is really interested in just ordinary people and makes a study of man with his eyes in public. What a pleasure and an

| 453

Geoffrey Batchen __ Guilty Pleasures

art it was to study back. ... Stare. It is the way to educate your eye, and more. Stare, pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long. ” 20

wn unp

in Walker Evans

“The cosmopolitan ‘sentiments

of this

self-described “penitent spy,” seeking a photographic look that is at once suavely European and coldly machinic, were in August 1946 turned onto a passing stream of Michigan pedestrians. Evans stood on a street corner with a preset Rolleiflex camera held low against his body, so that passers-by remained unaware that he was taking their picture. The resulting images show people in motion from side-on and from the waist up, sometimes looking down at their feet and sometimes curiously across at the man with the camera. Interestingly, Fortune magazine published some of these unposed photographs under the title “Labor Anonymous” in November of that same year. Seeking to counter existing caricatures of the working-class, Evans nevertheless listed them in his own notes as the personifications of imagined professions (“millwrights, watchmen, graders,” etc.), thus maintaining their status as types rather than individuals. In any case, the secret photographing of workers can hardly be regarded as an innocent or objective matter in a context where industrial labor was already being constantly photographically monitored and disci21 plined in the work Place.’ 186-189. On the photographic st | The spy photographs ofWalker Evans “t , “had astrange parallel inthose produced ”

d, pp.

ienetthe | Mass ‘Observation movement, ope-

“ratinginBritainfrom 1937.onward. The ice (End of day g popularity ofillustrated magazines TO les Convair








out Eu pe“had generated ‘the 10

relat ively :newgenre “Ofphoto-journalism, u


and with 1 itcame “numerous photographs 1

an element


: takenwithouttheirsubjects!‘knowledge ¢or

ae ‘consent. ‘The pioneer ‘German photogra-

pher Erich Salomon, for example, used a

light-weight, compact, large-lensed Ermanox camera (allowing unobtrusive indoor photos without flash, but needing tripod

454 |





and plates) as early as 1928 to take secret snapshots of court-cases (his camera hidden in a briefcase with a hole for the lens) and politicians in conference. The resulting images were considered astonishingly informal; here was a type of photograph not afraid to be ugly, not afraid of being truly candid (“candid camera” was a phrase coined’ by the editor of Graphie in 1929 spe’ to describe Salomon’s images). lism: Ori oi: snd Revolution sidal, M But practitioners. ike ‘Salomon also

established a new combative creed for the photojournalist: “The work of a press photographer who aspires to be more than just a craftsman is a continuous struggle for his image. As the hunter is a captive of his passion to pursue his game, so the photographer is obsessed by the unique photograph that he wants to obtain. It is a continual battle against prejudices resulting from photographers who still work with flashes, against the administration, the employees, the police, the security guards, against poor lighting and the enormous problems of taking photographs of people in motion. They must be caught at the precise moment when they are not moving. Then there is the fight against time, for every newspaper has its deadline that must be met. Above all, a photojournalist must have infinite patience, must never become flustered. He must be on top of all events and know when and where they take place. If necessary, he must use all sorts of tricks, even. ifthey donot always ces e a orn saben ametake ‘his“photographs secretly and without permission, had become a commonplace aspect of photojournalistic practice, almost a style necessary to journalism’s believability. Bill Brandt’s photographs for magazines like Picture Post, for example, look candid even when they aren’t, as if we are a fly on the wall in a coal-miner’s home or in the local pub. In 1936 Lazlo Moholy-Nagy, one of many



New York 1973.

Dr. Erich Salomon Colonel Beck and Sean Lester Geneva, 1936

24 _ Lazio Moholy-Nagy,

intellectuals residing in England to escape the Nazi regime in Germany, published a book titled The Street Markets of London. In his foreword, this former Bauhaus artist claims that “we shall be increasingly interested in providing a truthful record of objectively determined fact.” No longer concerned with avant-garde abstraction, he equates “truth” and “fact” with “taking rapid shots without being observed,” a technique made possible by his small Leica camera and providing, he argued, “rapid and unprepared fixation of lively scenes that could never have been posed.” The photographs themselves come to us complete with blurred details and awkward compositions, a visual compendium of accidental, ordinary moments and distracted faces, and therefore full of what Moholy-Nagy called “the natural life of the scene.”** The work of Salomon, Brandt, The! Stree t Markets of

Ney Set yetsosesen ee ag MEOHdH

photographic context for the images made

1983, Thames and Hudson,

by Humphry Spender for Mass Observation. This movement had been founded in 1936 following the Abdication Crisis involving Edward VIII and Mrs Simpson, and what some felt was the obvious disparity between official and popular opinion regarding the monarchy and morality. It was initiated by journalist and poet Charles Madge



through a letter to New Statesman, and he

was soon joined by anthropologist Tom Harrisson and painter and film-maker Humphrey Jennings. Their ambition, to produce a detailed, empirical ethnography of modern Britain based on the reporting of volunteer native informants (in effect, spies), was informed by a distinctive mixture of socialism, surrealism, and the social sciences. Madge, for example, suggested that their field-work should concentrate on

97? London, Benjamin Blom, New York 19 le

| 455

Geoffrey Batchen __ Guilty Pleasures

the “popular phenomenon of the coincidence” because British society was so repressed that “clues” to its true feelings on issues could only be hit upon “in this form.” He called for surreptitious “mass observations” by a cross-section of the population in order to create a “mass science” of the British unconscious. The group was interested then in the juxtaposition of incongruities, but also in the fragmented flow of events and in the differences of individual intepretations of the same event. The movement’s leaders described its observers as “the cameras with which we are all trying to photograph contemporary life. ... Mass-Observation has always assumed that its untrained Observers would be subjective cameras, each with his or her own distortion. They tell us not what society is like but what it looks like to them. a

‘son tion

“Xt feast.one of these observers was “he weverr required tocarryarealcamera. In Archive Occ ?aper No, 10, University of Sussex Library, 1937, Tom Harrisson asked respected photojournalist Humphry Spender to visit Bolton, which MassOb had renamed “Worktown,” and unobtrusively photograph life there (Harrisson firmly believed that “if the observer is observed, the observation is probably invalid”). Coming from a comfortable middle-class background, Spender had already established himself as a photographer with leftist leanings and a keen interest in capturing the gritty realities of British class struggle

and working class life. He was only able to spend short periods in Bolton, and was generally directed (but haphazardly and only orally) by Harrisson (“[photograph] for instance, how people hold their hands, the number of sugar lumps that people pop into their mouths in restaurants, etc”). Spender used a Leica or Zeiss Contax 35 (with wide-angle lens) camera hidden under his coat to take secret pictures of people going about their lives in public places (Harrisson prohibited pictures of domestic interiors because it would require








the cooperation of the subjects involved). He sometimes shot with his camera resting on a table or hanging at his waist, so the pictures tend to be unorganised and unposed, often dappled by uneven lighting, and very ordinary in subject matter. His main aim, he recalls, was to “provide information ... to allow things to speak for themselves.” This, however, entailed certain risks and discomforts. “I believed obsessionally that truth would be revealed only when people were not aware of being photographed. I had to be invisible. There was an uncomfortable element of spying in all this and the press was often hostile. We were called spies, pryers, mass-eavesdroppers, nosey parkers, peeping-toms, lopers, snoopers, envelope-steamers, keyhole artists, sex maniacs, sissies, society playboys. ‘If I catch anyone mass-observing me, there’s going to be trouble’ threatened a Labour MP in the News Chronicle.”oa _ And this Humphrey Spender. “Lensman! raphs 1 52, invisibility was hard to achieve in a working class town like Bolton. “I always come back to the factor that I was constantly being faced with — class distinction, the fact that I was somebody from another planet, intruding on another kind of life. ... I felt very much a foreigner. ... A constant feature of taking the kind of photographs we're talking about ... was a feeling that I was intruding, and that I was exploiting

Chatto & Windus,


1987, pyle

the people I was photographing. aed spender,


in Jere



these mis jivin Ss, Spender

38 by Humphrey


ng Wall Press Febru

hotagraphs from Northern


ended up taking 600- 700 ictures, but graphs ( iss noneofthem were used at thetime (al=mcy:


p. 16. See also lan Jeffrey ed.,


1937/38, Gardner

though Harrisson might study them tosee te Meth

how ‘many tings peoplethadon their fins gers and such like, regarding the photograph as just so much data). In 1939, World War II broke out and MassOb’s utopian social ideals came up against the hard realities of war time. By 1940, the organisation was supplying information on home-front morale (eg. human reactions to being bombed) to the Ministry of Information. The transformation of Mass


Observation into an organisation spying for the state was ironic, given that very soon, Hidden Camera photographs would become an important part of the activities of, for example, the Dutch Resistence. Members, such as Fritz and Ingeborg Kahlenberg, hoarded rationed film, snapped pictures of German activities (persecution of Jews, warfare, confiscation of goods, compulsory labor, starvation) with cameras concealed in coats or handbags, and tried to smuggle them out of the country. Their images have the same unposed quality as Moholy-Nagy’s and Spender’s pictures, but far more purpose 28 and urgency as surveillance documents. “Photographing “blind,”"oral atTeastallowing chance to play a rolein one’s work, is given an ironic twist in Robert Frank’s 1949-50 sequence of images of a blind couple cuddling in New York’s Central Park. Circling around from behind the couple, Frank catches them necessarily unawares. a This sequence establishes a ! Cent

‘certain. quiet ‘working procedure that is

repeated in his celebrated series of images published in 1959 as The Americans. Most of the subjects captured in this later project also seem unaware of the photographer’s presence, but this shield of anonymity is periodically punctured by the direct look into the camera of one or more of those being pictured (a man in uniform crossing a street, a blurred kid in a candy store, some transexuals on the streets of New York, people on a trolley in New Orleans). These occasional returned gazes accentuate the unobtrusive, matter-of-fact quality of all the pictures in the book, creating a rhythm of looks and counter-looks that approximates the experience any flaneur has when traversing the crowded streets of urban life. But it also makes The Americans function as alternately surveillance and

about surveillance. This alternation is underlined by its exclusion in a 1958 series by Frank where he photographed his subjects from a passing

bus. No return of gazes here. From the Bus, New York is again marked by a strong sense of the accident, of the chance capturing of unposed street-life. Frank himself sees this particular body of work in terms of his own feelings about New York. “Whenever I look at these pictures I think that I ought to be able to say something about the way it felt when I took them and how I took them (with a Leica) and why I like them. The Bus carries me thru the City, I look out the window, I look at the people on the street, the Sun and the Traffic Lights. It has to do with desperation and endurance —I have always felt that about living in New York. Compassion and probably some understanding for New York’s Concrete and its people, walking ... waiting ... standing up ... holding hands ... the summer of 1958. The gray around the picture to heighten the feeling of seeing from the inside to the outside. I like to see them one after another. It’s a ride bye and

205 Evansee sawdeeeore Frank’s vision as ironic (“he its, in W.S,

Di Piero et. al., Robert \Frank llery,of


shows a high irony towards anation that generally speaking has it not. ... “); but perhaps it is the photographer’s refusal to take up any particular position in relation to its subject matter that allows viewers to project a variety of emotions onto these

prints.” Although he described them as Bol Walker Evans, 1958 as quoted ini Beaumont Newhall, T/te History O€S not seem “personal,” Frank himse f Modern Art New to be present in these images even when. his subjects acknowledge his actual presence with a look. This cool distance (“seeing from the inside to the outside”) was much admired by a younger generation of photographers, being emulated in the early 1960s in the sophisticated street photography of Garry Winogrand and many others. However, where Frank’s work claimed a certain gritty purchase on reality, Winogrand presents us with an arch surreality, with a photography less about life than about its own processes of picturing. By the 1970s this kind of selfconscious street photography was coming

of Photography, from York

1982, p. 288

| 457

Geoffrey Batchen __ Guilty Pleasures


Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still, #83 1980, gelatine silver print

to us with a measure of intellectual exhaustion (as in Winogrand’s Women are Beau-

tiful of 1975), or primed with the tawdry tabloid sensibility of the native informant (Larry Clark’s Tulsa of 1971 or Nan Goldin’s Ballad of Sexual Dependency, published in 1986). It also came with an established pedigree and a recognized set of aesthetic conventions. In other words, the very qualities that once associated “detective photography” with the representation of untramelled reality — the casual framing, haphazard composition, uncontrolled lighting, slice-of-life facticity — have now become a formula, copied equally well by advertizing agencies and postmodern mimics. Cindy Sherman’s Untitled Film Stills of the late 1970s, for example, return the look








of surveillance to the posed theatrics of Talbot’s early tableaux vivant, in the process casting doubt on the very photographic truth values she imitates and exploits. Throughout this series of over one hundred grainy black and white prints, we see a single woman (always played by Sherman herself) photographed as if by a hidden paparazzi. She never seems to see him or us, but looks out or away as if there is something happening off stage. A later body of work from 1981 reverts to color and the precedent of the magazine centerfold layout and the TV soap opera. Now the woman is more overtly under pressure; the camera comes in close like the eye of a voyeur or of an unseen but imminent attacker. Indeed the viewer seems to be

positioned in all Sherman’s early pictures as masculine (and indeed, the history of surveillance photography seems to be dominated by male practitioners). Whoever is doing the looking, Sherman presents us with “woman” as the player in a piece of theatre (it’s always her but never her). For here Sherman is both subject and object of the camera, both director and performer, both artist and model, both present and absent. Thus the surveyed is also the surveyer, and the only truth being revealed is that all truth is an elaborate fiction. Fiction is also at the heart of the variation on street photography offered by American photographer Philip-Lorca diCorcia. Beginning with a series made in 1993, he tends to shoot strangely discordant street scenes (in New York, Naples, Hong Kong), using hidden flashlights to turn them into Hollywood film sets and to give ordinary faces and bodies an unexplained but charged significance. These images hover between the authentic and the inauthentic, between

reality and its alienation.

The work of Sherman and diCorcia might be taken as a critique of the art of surveillance photography that has been so briefly surveyed in this essay. Far from being a marginal perversion, seeing without being seen has been a central tenet of the practice of photography throughout its history, a guilty pleasure thought to provide insights into life beyond the reach of the posed picture. Now that such surveillance has become a pervasive aspect of daily life, dispassionately gathered by hidden cameras on the street and in the office as much as from satellites passing far overhead, we might regard this claim a little more skeptically. But how to respond? Recent art practice offers us at least one possibility: to turn one’s whole life into a grand, impenetrable pose, to assume the camera is always present and to act accor-

dingly. Or to turn the tables, or at least the cameras, and concentrate one’s gaze on surveillance itself, bringing it into the light, forcing it, as here, to make an exhibition of itself.

| 459

Wolfgang Ernst

__ Beyond the Rhetoric of Panopticism: Surveillance as Cybernetics

The French historian Arlette Farge, together with Michel


has worked

on eighteenth-

private petitions

century /ettres de cachet,

with reports of family quarrels and

borhood |




to the

King, to be decided. “thesystem of repression


|thus based onal(somewhat fictitious)


ublic spheres.

This discursive field took place in a mediatic

sphere — the symbolic regime of letters, addressees and senders — but also in the optical realm. After the guillotining of King Louts XVI in the course of the French

Revolution, the

omnipresence of the King’s eye, as brilliantly described by Louis Marin (be it on coins, be it In portraits, be it in the imaginary of the Subjects), left an empty space, and this virtual

_ gaze has constantly asked to be replaced. ~ This substitution

has subsequently


performed, first photographically (Alphonse








Bertillon’s Photographie judiciaire), then cinematographically, and finally, two hundred years later, electro-optically, with the television camera; the Televisor in Orwell’s 1984, and now the television format, Big Brother.

Close archival investigation reveals that royal surveillance in the French ancien régime was not felt as suppression but as a kind of protection, to which wishes might be addressed. This suggests a link between the historical, optical regime of power, and the obscene staging of individuals in front of anonymous TV or web cameras, on the set of the real life soap Big Brother, located close to Cologne for one hundred days (March to June 2000), with the slogan “You are not alone.” These days, the paranoia of panoptic regimes in modern societies is being replaced by a productive, though fatal provocation of the public, by the exhibition of the private. The private/public feedback effects of Big Brother (the German version) have led to a sudden reentry of privacy made public; the private becomes the obscene (as desribed in Jean Baudrillard’ s classic analyses).’ "No. longer is“panoptic surveillance being felt as a threat, but as a chance to display oneself under the gaze of the camera. Maybe the US-American electronic satellite surveillance system Echelon can be outdone by an encoding software for e-mail called Pretty Good Privacy. The Internet, exactly because it has no centralized managing function, cannot be effectively controlled or censured. This marks its fundamental difference from the television system. But does the public still want privacy at all, when interceptions of private correspondence seem more appealing, more thrilling than ever? Parallel to the collapse of the sociological distinction between private and public, supervision as a technique of control is being replaced by interception, as information is distributed by the Internet. While private correspondence seems somewhat redundant, only

public feedback can add unforeseen aspects, collapses and breakdowns; that is, information (in the systems theory sense of information). While it might officially be the function of public and semi-public video cameras to prevent crimes, the television camera, on the contrary, not only wants to document, but even to generate the event. That is why Big Brother has manifested such a revolution in the panoptic epistemé. Not only is the anonymous power of the surveilling eye no longer felt as a menace, but it is subjected to a kind of productive, reverse appropriation of power, seen as an oppor-

tunity to experiment with the location of the self (which, as we know from Jacques Lacan, is constituted in the mirror experience only). There has been a pointed dislocation of the Sebel wena ethics of self-inquiry* tto themediaticc regulation «of oe ae der, Die erkalte reschr sche Text im 20. Jahrself-“perception. “The ocular, voyeuristic hundert, Fink, Munich 1986 phantasm of seeing without being seen is being replaced by the public, that is, TVcamera-controlled, display and regeneration of the self; both the victim and the voyeur derive lust from a kind of controlled monitoring, the playful acceptance of the guard’s ee from the Ca) which

scher Meich 2000, pp.

sphere and of human dignity by subjecting the players to mediatic toys (which later gave rise to a lot of parodies with guinea-pigs, for example). A few months later, though, after the high ratings of the broadcast, new variations of the format are already being developed. The acceptance of surveillance thus reaches a new degree; the omnipresence of cameras has surrendered its Orwellian menace to a kind of inverse voyeurism. With private life in a home made public, the Un-Heimliche (the uncanny) enters the living room. With a remarkable blind spot, though: there was no radio or TV set on the


Wolfgang Ernst __ Beyond the Rhetoric of Panopticism

Big Brother set, thus underpinning the experimental order of “real life.” This blind spot, according to systems theory, is ne-

cessary and constitutive; the paradox of self- observation” requires a second order i. ‘observation (theobservation ofobservation)

"to introduce a different point ‘ofview. A precondition for Big Brotherin Germany was the absence of a dialogical feedback (coupling) between the autopoietic world in the container and the surrounding world: no telephone, no mass media inside, thus maintaining a system-internal world. On the other hand, the direct tele-voting of the audience decided which of the cast members was in or out. This reminds us that the public/private dichotomy is not bound to the subject(s) of TV as sender but also to the status of the receiver. Once TV becomes interactive, the viewer loses the privilege of staying absolutely private and enters the public, in the sense of a broadcast-observable field. The exiled players were immediately provided with personality shows, a kind of permanent mediatic recycling of life and a de-programming of the traditional TV flow. But the identification of life and observation only happened in the coupling of Big Brother with the Internet by means of webcams and streaming video in realtime, thus fulfilling the technological options of TV (a signal transfer medium) in another medium. While TV still summed up and dramatized daily Big Brother events, selectively and in deferred time, the net transmitted unprocessed observation data in realtime — just like video cameras always did in observation systems. This TV filtering introduces a difference, a spatio-temporal delay, somewhat sheltering privacy from direct observation by a time shift, in contrast to the parallel Internet webcam option of observing Big Brother’s inhabitants in realtime. Life- and data- streaming thus coincide, with the Real Life Soap turning into a Real Live Event. Life itself is edited: it is vectored toward the cameras as a medium








of second order observation; the next step is probably the direct coupling of observed bodies and the data flow. Thus we get aliterally reverse notion of “personal


the most


articulation of what Raymond Williams once called “mobile privatization” in a different sense of domesticated individualism, set within a complex of abstract public of broadband systems. The development o: (notably ‘satellite) delivery systems ‘will . extend the places and ways in which we watch television, refiguring the medium as a kind of naturalized global infrastructure and “blending fantasies of private address and public particip ation.”e

New York


With i its ‘directfeedback to theaudi- wis Meise nce,


ence, Big‘Brother was vi a| rejuvenating e event si )

for the aged medium of television—and its transcendence at the same time, through the convergence of TV and Internet. Marshall McLuhan once described TV as a medium which invites participation because of its scarcity of details, asking the audience to fill in the gaps.? The viewer is ns no longer passively confronted with TV. A degree of interactivity was aiiodacea with zapping gadgets. Broadcasting implies a medium with a central, wave-emitting tower as an electro-technical equivalent to Jeremy Bentham’s panoptical prison design of 1788 with no feedback. But now, {0}

when coupled with the Internet, broad-

casting approaches what Berthold Brecht’s radio theory envisioned in 1932: it is being transformed from a distribution apparatus into a communication medium. The video festival Querspur (Linz, Austria, 1990) was subtitled Between intimacy and radical exposure. Once life itself is digitally calculable, will the direct coupling of live observation and electric flow result in a different aesthetics of life itself? Autobiographical memories, so far narratively prefigured, will be replaced by data banks which only powerful search engines might conquer. Algorithms, that is, already replace the panoptic regime. The individual (a

af Man

MIT Press,(Cambridge,

MA 1995.

term which seems to be coexistent with the discourse of privacy) will be deprived of historical time and subjected to a cyberarchival discourse, instead. If the state of privacy is defined as being free from intrusion or disturbance in one’s private

life or affairs, individual memory is degraded when it enters electronic circuits. What happens, if a private document is technically re-read and thus reco(r)ded as digital monument? This question, of course, links up to the subject of archives under new conditions. Archives traditionally belonged to the arcanum of power, with the notion of secret space here being related to exclusion from public inspection." ithabe es “Today's media ‘memory creates ‘hybrid forms: Hans-Achim Roll, the former head of the central file processing department in the German Chancellor’s Office, justified the scandalous data-destruction at the end of the Kohl era in 1998 by using the neologism of the “Privatdienstlichen” (the private-administrative), that is, files which should be hidden from the duty of preservation and documentation, since they convey the personal agencies of public affairs. Such subtle boundaries between the private and the public literally do not count in digital, that is, calculating space any more. With the terrorist attack in Washington and New York on September 11,

Revised version. First published under the title “From Louis XIV to Big Brother,” in documents, 19, Los Angeles 2000, topic: On Privacy, pp. 20-23. Sub-edited by Frazer Ward

2.001, what has been playfully undermined by the Big Brother TV event, suddenly becomes serious again. This event has led to a renaissance of neo-conservative dreams of state control over any kind of communication, be it private, commercial or public. But the form of the relation between communication and control has changed. According to the notorious

definition by Norbert Wiener, dating back to 1948 (the year George Orwell published his Big Brother-scenario 1984), the coupling of See punicghion & control leads to cybernetics.’ " Thus control belongs to the very essence of digital ‘cyberspace. ‘The story-_ engines, thatis, the driving software in com-

The Animal and The Machine

New York 1948

puter games, already aim at monitoring

the behaviour of respective players in realtime, in order to dynamically adapt the game options to the according user movements. Surveillance which has been frequently linked to the audiovisual regime, turns into dataveillance, that is, the reconnaissance of data patterns which can only metaphorically can be called “visual” any more. The physical body on which the surveying gaze has been targeted until now, is being replaced by a virtual body of data. The subject’s two bodies become apparent in the surveillance video camera still from Portland Airport, capturing terrorist Atta passing the security gates shortly before seizing the airplane and directing it into the heart of the World Trade Center of Manhattan. What we see is the image of a body already covered with recording data.” ndung, Rasterbeschworung, in Die Zeit, no. 43,

When bodies merge with data, t neybecome

invisible, and the king’s (video-)eye looks for his subjects in vain. When bodies become mathematically addressable, they enter digital, non-visual space (which is less attractive for museum exhibitions). This sub-visible space both anachronistically and media-archaeologically coincides with the invisibility of a certain top terrorist disappearing in the dark caves of Afghanistan which, unlike “Ground Zero” in Manhattan, can no longer be spotted by iconic satellite surveillance.

18 October 2001.

| 463

Surveillance Center







Winfried Pauleit

__ Video Surveillance and Postmodern Subjects: The Effects of the Photographesomenon — An Image-form in the “Futur antérieur”

“The panopticon is a royal menagerie in which animals are replaced by humans ... and the king by a machinery of a self-concealing power... In addition, this machinery is so arranged that its closed nature does not prevent the outside world from being constantly present. We have already seen that anyone at all can come and observe the surveillance functions in the central room and in so doing guess at how this surveillance works.”

__,, Michel Foucault" “We tried a video system, with camera and monitor facing her, and the results were startling, and bizarre. For now, using the video screen as a ‘mirror’, she did see the left side of her face to her right, an experience confounding even to a normal person |...], and doubly confounding, uncanny, for her, because the left side of her face and body, which she now saw, had no feeling, no existence, if her, in consequence of her stroke.” fe



The Man Wha

Video surveillance


chine. Its main function

Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Picador

Editior Edit

Oliver Sacks 15 Pan

an image-making

B ooks






consists in a displace-

ment of familiar panoptical surveillance strategies. In video surveillance, the panopticon, an architectural


for prison surveillance,

establishes itself on the level of the technical image. The paradoxical thing about this imagemaking


is that an imageless con-

dition is considered as the guarantee of the idea of an “objective” security — in a society

in which nothing can be said to exist without imagic representation. Anyone wanting to

| 465

Winfried Pauleit __ Video Surveillance and Postmodern Subjects

install video surveillance for security purposes will subsequently scarcely be able to be satisfied without images; and in the end it will be a matter of who can best appropriate these images. The logic used in calling for these images has become all too familiar through the current

4_ Aldo Legnaro refers






Brother.” The main difference, in the case of “Big Brother,” is the anticipation ofa sex scene instead of a “crime scene” of the type that, here in Germany too, the police authorities will be showing us on public television in the near future.’ The classic jideo surveillance in Germany js only just starting, unlike in ” desire structure of video surveillance produces in police practice images of others: criminals, ethnic minorities, etc.* Potential to studies by Norris and Arm istrong according to which 90 percent of t criminals are reified, corroborating the AQiperc “ajuveniles, Aes above-average number black (Aldo ae division fe) lfand other. The crux is the der Ubersicht! rcs in ae k & Kommunikation, 111, Dec. 2000, spllitting-fo) of parts of the ersonality, Gary_Armstrong, Smile, you're on camera, in Burgerrechte & “which, with the aid of the video apparatus Q} and the authorities in charge of it, are transferred to other people and thus kept at a distance. In his film “Lost Highway” (USA 1996), David Lynch has portrayed a comparable splitting of the ego accompanied bya video recording, albeit under different circumstances. The main characters, Fred Madison and his wife Renee, are sent videotapes showing pictures from inside their own apartment. There is only one conclusion to be drawn: someone else must have been in there. The last videotape is received by Fred alone; it shows him murdering his own wife. Lynch inverts this process of “splitting”: the split-off fear is returned to the individual (Fred) in a closed circuit, allowing the story to culminate in a vision of horror that shows the husband and the murderer shown on the videotape to be one and the same person.°

5 _ A real-life example from Stuttgart is less dastic, but still Cn according to the same scheme:


surveillance is thus pol only a

the first offender caught withithe aid of a video camera

jn the underground car park beneath ie

method used by police to combat t eft, or

Stuttgart Parliament House for being drunk at the wheel was_a me amber of parliament belonging

an extension of the‘‘eye of

to the party that is the driving



(Berliner Zeitung,

force behing the introduction of video, suryebee



July 2000)



in Germany.

employing technological aids, as it still was, paradigmatically, for George Orwell’s “Big Brother” representing a totalitarian state based on constant surveillance. This








attitude to video surveillance already assumed a clear split into a spiritual gaze (and codified law) on the one hand, and a body in need of domestication on the other. A more complex understanding of “video surveillance,” however, classes this

technology also among the media of selfreflection and self-awareness. For the first time, video makes it possible to see oneself as one is seen pe others, unlike in a mirror, for example. ° Video technology tthus On a video monito t Way z arOUNG ane not as ina mirror. For this operates within a familiar double function — n, it is not jt ntinuous container surveillance of‘images: firstly asa mirror tothe‘self,and ture of video and to the

“Big Brother":



it still refer

1 of

the techn

then as a window on ‘the “world. "For this— 7 mh fact that the pc

reason, the effects of video surveillance

f necessary by one's own body,

move in two basic directions: a splitting, in the sense of a separation, of the interior and the exterior, or an integration of “the other/the self” into one’s own self-image. Visual artists have been ie ee this potential since the end of the 1960s.’ ye of the most famous names


Theee ct ofvideo surveillan ecan, be bles are Peter Campus




artists is Nam

however, Dan G


Jun Paik

mg (Present Continuous

that should

Past, 1974),

also und ergo a su iden Ss iftor change of and above all women

direction (Vertical Roll,


artists with sometimes explicitly feminist perspectives, such as Joan Jonas

under 1972)


given or Eriederike

experimental Pezold, who used a video



video works (in the early 1970s), directing

=plitting can turn into one of integration. i This Ta 1 the eae view of herself as a point of departure,


This can happen. as a result of interventions, language of Signs,”

Cf. Petra Stiben,

Leibhafte Zeichen,

coincidences or fechoical defects. A case gungen,

surveillance camera

for her early


these at her own

body for surveillance purposes. thus developed a

“new corporeal

Uber Friederike Pezold,

Ines Lindner

that occurred at the Tegel prison in Berlin can serve as an example here. In 1999, the inmates discovered by chance a pin-sized surveillance camera concealed in a television in the recreation room. While fiddling about with the remote control, they suddenly saw themselves on the screen owing to an error made by the secret : = 8 surveillance technicians. Through this technical circularity, the pictures of those under surveillance were fed back to them. Apart from the legal scandal that this case represented (under German law, video surveillance may only be used when danger is imminent, even in a prison), in this situation those under surveillance were confronted by their own picture in view of those watching them. The surprise caused by the situation was big enough for the inmates to publicize the occurrence in the





in Sehbewe pp.

67 - 78

_ taz, 22 June 1999.

jail newsletter, thus initiating a complaint. There was no official report about how they perceived the picture on the television screen, or what they saw in it; it can only be surmised. The inmates apparently did not recognize themselves, but someone else, an unfair judiciary or administration, that had curtailed their individual rights and thus “dehumanized” them. It may be, however, that other effects of this experience were simply not publicly talked about. One imaginable way the inmates might have perceived the picture is by seeing themselves as “criminals” and identifying themselves with precisely this image. This perspective makes possible a process of identification via the appropriation of the image of oneself as other, something that would make video surveillance as used for combating criminality useless, or something that may

even cause a contrary effect.? un Farocki

bilder” (Prison Pictures)

on 28

sin Berlin, the question came up of whether prison inmates


ty as

: “eaeversus security ied] f knew of any examples of this In UK, the two different concepts of “security” and “safety” have formed the basis for discussion. Mark Cousins has highlighted the difference between them. On D “the one hand, hespeaks ofa caring, | human gaze based on concern. The prerequisite for this gaze is linked to the human presence, the sympathy existing within the human community and a well-developed sense of what is right and wrong. This interpersonal gaze is connected with the concept of “safety.” Cousins sees it mainly in the context of defense of life and limb. Even this human gaze naturally involves the element of power, and is legally defined in the laws regarding the responsibility of parents towards their children. At the same time, this parental gaze is what helps a young person develop in the first place. Cousins contrasts this human gaze with the empty gaze delegated to an apparatus. According to him, this “camera gaze” has nothing to do with concern or communication; it consist solely in a technical recording that mainly protects property.

using t

Cousins describes this gaze as having two functions. Firstly, casual thieves are to be warned and deterred. To this end, the installation of surveillance cameras is often accompanied by prominent signs saying: “This location is under video surveillance.” The deterrent effect is their function in the present, one which is often taken over by various types of fake cameras. Their power remains limited, and only comes into play when actual images of offenders are stored in the cultural memory. For this reason, the second function is needed: that of the technical recording that leads to the detection and conviction of criminals. This function only takes effect in the future. The gaze of the surveillance camera does not belong to the present; it builds on a future in which it already belongs to the past. However, proponents of surveillance technology are now stressing its usefulness in other areas than that of combating offences against property. One of the recent successful operations of the UK criminal investigation unit Scotland Yard, in which the identity of a bomber was detected, was carried out by using video recordings from the London district of Brixton and broadcasting pictures of a suspect. Examples like this seem to make Cousin’s argument look shaky. The presence of sympathetic gazes cannot prevent bomb attacks, but it is possible, later, to take a sympathetic interest in pictures of the tragedy taken by the empty eye of a surveillance camera. Imbuing the technological gaze with a soul after the event — just like in cinema — appears on the horizon of the possibilities of video surveillance. The situation in Brixton — a district with a black majority population — has changed since the bomb attack. Previously,

the decision to install video surveillance was interpreted as a further extension of a repressive force. The profile of potential offenders as envisaged and constructed by video surveillance fitted chiefly donate bersichtlichkeit, Aldo Leggaro, Panoptismus, Fiktionen der lace men. ‘Atier the bomb attack, the

in Asthetik

111, December 2000, pp, 73-

| 467

Winfried Pauleit _ Video Surveillance and Postmodern Subjects

repression was suddenly (and perhaps for the first and last time) directed at a white offender coming from a right-extremist background. It can also be assumed that the offender, who came from outside the area, was not familiar with the video surveillance in the district. The fact that detectives were even able to make out a “suspicious” person in multicultural Brixton would also seem of importance, however. It is through technology that the gaze of the Scotland Yard detectives, linked to the empty gaze, turned once more into

being classified as the person in need of help. Ina therapeutic sense, the video recordings allowed the mother, too, to acknowledge her own actions, which she had until then passed off as those of someone else. These two examples can serve to outline the paradox of video surveillance. On the one hand, itis an authority that ensures law and order in a paternal manner. This authority has an increasingly comprehensive overall view and sets its “objective” perception up as being the valid yardstick for everything that happens. In so doing, it conceals its own construction and discredits other viewpoints. On the other hand, video (and to a lesser degree the surveillance complex) opens up the possibility of extending a partial or obstructed viewpoint. In the reflection on the monitor, each individual can appropriate this option of the mass medium.

a technically-mediated concern. To put it differently, the empty gaze underwent a positive apropriation. Behind the technology one could imagine the stereotype of the paternal police inspector familiar to us from films of the 1950s and 1960s: the inspector knows what is to be expected of certain people and what they are up to. That is how he can also pick out a | The photographesomenon: white man with different motives and | video surveillance as image-form It is more than striking that, in UK movements in a video recording made of discussion about the different concepts of Brixton. But such examples transfigure the “security” and “safety,” the parental gaze is relationship to video surveillance as being opposed to the empty gaze of the camera. that to a firm yet just father. They create The Bulger case can be seen as paradigmatic the idea of a new ocular aR to which for this discussion. In 1993, the Bulger everyone is equally subject.’ out that “the ca ate attitudes to the gubjec xt, ThomasiY. Levin has sill FA case caused a public shock that went oth er case wee eo survel ance ‘cirec . ] are luehced not least by various forms of so-called a re! or Mass beyond the borders of Great Britain. Twolyintervened iina parent-chil teere ationship. , Die Rhetorik der Uberwachun gst vor Beobachtung in den year-old James Bulger was abducted in a n 7 Hdgel — Bilder und Zeichen des shopping mall in Liverpool by two boys 4, Was used to confirm the suspicion that a aged ten and eleven when his mother briefmother had been responsible for her child’s ly lost sight of him on a shopping expediinexplicable injuries. The video recordings tion. He was mistreated and later killed. were only utilized to make sure that the The abduction was registered by surveilmother really was the person causing injury to the child, and that no other lance cameras. The video pictures were the only clue detectives had that they should person was involved. The video recording was thus of no legal relevance, but solely look for children rather than adult offenders. underlined the psychological diagnosis. Above and beyond the distinction The mother was diagnosed as having a between the empty gaze of the video surveil“Munchhausen-by-proxy-syndrome,” lance camera and the parental gaze, these which means she was hurting her child in also have parallels and common features. order to receive medical attention and to be The connecting element is a particular able to remain in the hospital. Although, perspective looking down from diagonally on the one hand, the mother was exposed above: the “supervision.” Parents are as the offender, on the other she ended up endowed with authority and responsibility,









and these are the elements that are dele-

gated to the cameras when video surveillance iis installed. 3 That which is valid for ihe





ned by danger




“the | gaze ‘is also valid. valid for the pictures "created. We know what he adolescent veillanc

> and no ¢



conflict between young people“and their ih parents can‘Took like. How ‘this conflict is to be dealt with where video cameras are involved is not yet completely foreseeable. However, the use of video surveillance produces a specific sort of image. In the present, these images remain insignificant and when recordings are made, these usually stay invisible. They can be called latent images, like photographs that have not yet been developed. But the logic of video surveillance is guided by another concept. The latent image of photography, like its manifest image, records a particular segment in space and time, while video surveillance, with its many cameras, is intended to register an overall view. Video surveillance recordings are meant to minimize spatial and temporal gaps, whereas their latency is in principle unlimited. However, the recorded images have a short expiry date, after which they are overwritten again. This is made necessary alone for reasons of data economy. Specific visible images are fixed upon and produced only in retrospect: after a theft has taken place, for example. Cameras are thus set up to double a specific spatio-temporal structure as an image trace that can be accessed retrospectively. A “second” reality is created as a security against unforeseen deviations. This production of images is directed towards a “future perfect.” It is a conception of image that functions via a time loop that is otherwise only familiar to us from sciencefiction stories.'* Deriving the name as an ety-

14 _ A photo-fiterary (or cinematic) ae te)sie form . Chris Marker of “ph ‘La Jetée”

mol Ogic

trans formation o

Dee aed

(F 1962), or the better-knowy scala ieVa FGiljanSs TE Monkeys” (US ght-writing), ing 1g. ath ( n the futur antérieur) film tells the story of a man who aaa his oy wn

I propose c this type f image photographesomenon’” (light ai have been written). The photographesomenon is already “written, ” even if it only constitutes itselfasan image in futurity. In contrast to photography, with the

photographesomenon there is no. photographical act, nor is there a “clapboard” as when making a film. There is consequently no particular event structure of the recording that goes with a corresponding demand and position behind the camera. The event of recording is extended into large segments of our everyday life, and the condition of not recording is abolished in the process. Furthermore, there is no one standing behind the camera as a partner for interaction as when a film is being made. The only opposite position that is still to be discovered is the past self of the person under surveillance on a control monitor. The concept of the photographesomenon can be directly connected with the development of video technology. As opposed to a film strip, which runs through the apparatus in an intermittent fashion and which contains visible individual frames, the magnetic tape of a video cassette runs without interruption and, furthermore, is

ei ae eeeae et a graphic and film images disappear in the

“black box” for a true latent period, video recordings can be “monitored” on the screen almost as soon as they are made. The production of single frames, videograms or excerpts is, however, always left to postproduction in a video editing suite, which already begins in rudimentary form with the command structure of a video recorder: for example, with the “stopping” of the video image by pressing the pause button. But the thing that sets video technology with its production of photographesomena (plural!) apart is its use in permanent surveillance. Video cameras are set up as an integrated system and their pictures overlay reality, just in case... Itis possible to imagine police searches employing video surveillance images as a further development of the television program “Aktenzeichen XY ungelést” (The X-Files) that would no longer use reconstructed scenes, but pictures from the surveillance camera, and in which the



or delimited

on a magnetic 5

as th ere are on a filmstrip.

| 469

Winfried Pauleit __ Video Surveillance and Postmodern Subjects

public would be asked for help. The “Bulger case” made this scenario familiar as far as

England is concerned." The video surveilve Fall Bulger

16 _ Winfried Pauleit, Das Photographesomenon

— eine Bildform des futuy passe,

; lance pictures that are made

und der Kiinstler Jamie Wagg, in Asthetik

& Kommunikation,



public seldom

1998, pp, 83 — 92.

show the crime itself, however, and those

17 _ E.T.

18 _ The

published in the media often don’t even indicate the location of the crime. The photographesomenon as an image-form does not, therefore, take up the thread directly from the journalistic photographs taken at the scene of the crime by Weegee, for example, who in the 1930s and 1940s went along on police operations in New York and took pictures of accidents and crimes. It also differs from the well-known picture of a street execution carried out . . ib ale during the Vietnam War’ and the television Adams shot this photograph in 1968, , 18 roadcast of Ceausescus being shot. television pictures of the shooting of the Ceausescus try — whether they were staged e Bu ger case is a good one for

or not — to take up the photographic tradjtion of a pictorially documented execution. Cf. Peter,

studying the Weibel (ed.), Von der Barokratie zur Telekratje, Berlin

Ost-pro' uced image qualities 1990.

of video surveillance as photographesomenon. A current affairs program on British television that had a report on the case showed a sequence of seven video stills taken by various surveillance cameras

in a Liverpool shopping mall.'? Theritishfirst television, February 1993 three show two-year-old James Bulger on his own, the next three show only the two offenders, and the seventh picture shows the scene of their encounter, which could be called the decisive, fateful moment. Here, the effects of post-production are not only apparent in the way a particular. segment in space and time was singled out: the chronology of the takes and thus also that of the (supposed) events has already been abandoned in favor of a dramatic structure, a sort of parallel editing, in which two takes are finally brought together to form one. The end of the sequence is the climax of the tension, and in the end transforms the sequence into a tableau. All the following and imaginable pictures of the case are condensed in this one picture, while the preceding ones pale as a result. This corresponds to the rhetoric of panel painting in which the fruitful moment condenses all the action in one picture — a point of discussion in art theory from Lessing to Gombrich.*° 20 _Wh ereby in the case of a photographesomenon the first picture of an “encounter”


is apparently

Video still from the recording made by the video surveillance in the Liverpool shoppir mall “Strand” on 12 February 1993 at 15.42:32 hours. Broadcast on British television in February 1993, recorded

by Jamie Wagg







The two lines of discourse that combine


vin‘thephotographesomenon to forma new }

; “image quality are, on the one hand, the art ~ discourse. about the fruitful (or‘fertille) ye


as af at a

‘moment, rdere


hysical to



as it


Bulger's f

“artistic” condensation iinto a {tisis







“single iimageea already.contains aknown ‘narration iIn embryo; onthe ¢other,‘there 1S i

~ thephotographic discourse, which describes | a mortifying

element ofdocumentary

“form: appears ¢as a a photograph: of a fatal ie

shot! or deathblow, divestin the end of ‘a life of its‘story. ‘it‘the production of a photographesomenon is analyzed, the logic of it can be described in several steps. The point of departure is a surveillance complex into which the image-making machine of video is integrated. This means the control exerted by the architectural panopticon is transferred to the level of “capture” in an image. To get a hold on an “event” — an incident, an accident or a

crime — that is fixed by the coordinates time and place, a segment of the data recorded on video is taken out and studied. The recording made by a camera has a precise time code imprinted on it that anyone can identify; the location of the camera is also indicated in slightly more encoded form. In the example mentioned, the trail left by James Bulger first had to be recognized in the video pictures. Using this point of reference, the “suspected” offenders and their movements through the shopping mall could now also be examined. At this step in the proceedings, the selection of images is more exactly defined. Only at this point are “wanted” pictures constructed so they can be broadcast on television. Elements in these images are now emphasized or marked with an arrow if desired. Moreover, the images are now provided with a commentary that charges them with meaning. This commentary creates a connection between the event (which is known, but not visible) and the codified rules of a society (laws, police regulations, etc., that qualify the event as abduction and

murder, for example) on the one hand, and a video surveillance picture in which a part of the event is made visible on the other. This step gives the images symbolic meaning, a meaning that, however, also incorporates the personal and collective ideas of the police officials involved. To sum up: a piece of image material is cut from the endless magnetic tape, from the doubled space/time, interpreted as a clue, and imbued with meaning. The event is thus recorded as a (re)construction.” * The the ir de public and integrate work done «on the eee te structure ( f television py the tatic 5 dodesk, or reproduced and creates the link betwe ml. within the eC t recor ing Han arte. the



a media

studies co

The: photographesomenon Sate


oes cS

not show an event; it indicates various facets of image construction. It does not show a crime either; it shows incidents departing from the norm and deviations that only appear meaningful after the event, but always already contain the crossing ofa threshold. In the Bulger case this is the “taking of a hand.” One of the offenders takes little James Bulger by the hand. Hand in hand, the two of them depart, leaving the camera’s field of vision. They walk towards a horizon that is not accessible to the camera looking down. It is this harmless gesture that causes such consternation. It renders the picture a scene of seduction: offender and victim — the scene parents are always describing to their children as the story of the “wicked uncle.” The difference iisee _ provided by the camera is not imagined or described, but is considered to have documentary value. It makes tangible as “futur antérieur” the moment in which James Bulger’ s deadly fate is sealed.** The

being crossed,








Saget ag


ideo recards of Princess Diana present a similar picture ses through the dgor of ‘ie hotel before beginni

Video surveillance and the visua arts: The works of Jamie Wagg The main way in which a photographesomenon differs from all art works that choose a fruitful moment is that, as well as telling a story, it provides a documentary and pertinent picture of the event (or a picture with an indexical reference to the event)

by the print media 1

his film M (D 1931).

They also show a thresho ge her Jast car ride with its fatal outcome.

| 471

Winfried Pauleit __ Video Surveillance and Postmodern Subjects

that relegates the artistic imagination to a secondary position. But the documentary image does not simply come from nowhere; it is only produced by a process occurring after the event. This means a shift in the responsibility for the production of the image, however. The author of a picture is no longer an artist or photographer who chooses the decisive moment and employs his/her imagination and skill in visualizing it; it is the police records department (and then the press) who are in charge of choosing the image and enhancing it. The third step is testing the published picture by means of the reactions of the people who see it. The dispute over respective areas of responsibility that video technology has caused between police records departments and the field of visual art is of a fundamental

_hature. * The true task of record departments hen Kunst und Erkenr asthey themselves


igsdienst, in Asthet


see 5 it is to decipher c ues and signs. The task of the visual arts is to create visible and readable signs for something that cannot be thought or conceived of in any other way. Video technology tends to reverse this state of affairs, thus encroaching on visual artists’ territory. The latter have three possible courses of action 11-12 (Edito

open to them as a strategic reaction to this competition. Firstly, retreat or evasion into another discourse outside the spatiotemporal event that is created by the video technology. Secondly, they can work in direct competition with video surveillance by also using the medium of video to produce “evidence” of a different sort. Thirdly, visual artists can take over the true

field of the police records departments and show themselves to be better readers of clues, especially when they occupy themselves with the published pictures coming from video surveillance technology. This is what happened in the Bulger case. The London artist Jamie Wagg took up the photographesomenon of the case that had been broadcast on television and reproduced in the print media. He studied the picture and read it into a computer. He








then went to work on it, removing specific references to the Bulger case: the indications of date, time, and location. Wagg left only the gesture of“the taking of a hand” as a stylized 1 icon.” ° Wage, thus examines traces,


who had



totheBulger notonlyt that are "pertinent r press p} text, whereas if the case; hedirects.his attention moregenerally oked Cf. Pauleit, op. cit., 1998

to the ‘public framework ¢given: under the— current conditions in a shopping mall — which is to say: video surveillance. His picture thus bears the simple title Shopping Mall. In it, Wagg not only criticize the concept of the “security camera,” but also reclaims the artistic competence of the artist from an institution that could be called the video surveillance complex. Wagg’s critical reflection, which disregarded the individual case and abandoned sympathy or identification with the perspective of the surveillance camera in favor of a look at its conditions, provoked much criticism and envy. When his pictures were shown in the London Whitechapel Art Gallery in May 1994 — over a year after the event — there was a scandal: the pictures were condemned, and Bulger’s relations demanded their immediate destruction. The exhibition was forced to close for two days. After discussions with the gallery administration, the artist, and the exhibition sponsors, it was decided to continue with the exhibition and provide the pictures with an appropriate note on a

sheet of A4 paper. Despite these precautions, one picture was willfully mutilated during the exhibition. The artist also received insulting letters and death threats. For the most part, however, there was no public debate about the composition of the pictures nor about their artistic treatment. This, although an examination of their formal qualities would have been worth the trouble. Even the way the two pictures were displayed in the Whitechapel Art Gallery seemed unusual: they hung one above the other. There was a gap of five centimeters approximately at eye level. The decision to hang them like'this was taken

Jamie Wagg ‘History Painting’, Railway Line 1993-94, cartoon for tapestry, digital manipulated electrostatic print on paper, laminated, 72 x 48 x 3” Jamie Wagg

Jamie Wagg ‘History Painting’, Shopping Mall,

15:42:32, 12/02/93 1993-94, cartoon for

tapestry, digital manipulated electrostatic print on paper, laminated, 72 x 48 x 3” Jamie Wagg

by the curator. Wagg’s work was actually conceived to hang in a room on two opposite walls. Shopping Mall shows a horizonless bird’'s-eye view ofa space. es, The vanishing hat of the

“reconstruction ofthe auxiliarylineswould “ putit itinthe upperr picture, soto‘speak.‘The _ figures with their ‘backs: to the camera “move towards the ‘vanishing point ‘and thus also towards the picture’s edge. This removal from the viewer is at the same time an ascent. It could remind one of

an ascension; the yellow light certainly indicates a promising path. Railway Line carries out a movement in the opposite direction. It is a picture of an outside space, also without a horizon. In this picture, the

figures face the camera. The movement follows the gazes (of the figures) forwards or downwards (along the railway lines) out of the picture. In the broadest sense, the composition of the two pictures could be seen as a diptych, even if the pictures are not actually attached


Winfried Pauleit __ Video Surveillance and Postmodern Subjects

a group identification with the gaze (and to one another.” ® Shopping Mall, the lower the discourse) of video surveillance, which ~ picture,; depicts‘the start of‘the’abduction, hose of folding writing stylizes the Bulger case as an icon and only “and Railway Line,the“upper one,, shows.its ancient Chr cht aining th mes ofall one “collective” interpretation of permits end.The event itself—James Bulger’smutred d uring th F xik the picture. In this discourse the pictures “der — is omitted. Tt is the gap ‘enclosed produced by video surveillance are accorded by the two pictures. It is precisely this a similar cult status to that once possessed aspect that qualifies the composition as a religious pictures. This is apparently the by memorial to the dead boy. It is the mixture why they cause a new iconographic reason confronting the panel painting tradition controversy accompanied by murder threats with the perspective of video surveillance and the destruction of pictures. that makes the whole work so unbearable. At the same time, the artist Wagg thus Differences in the cultural integration makes the photographesomenon visible; of video surveillance that is, one suddenly sees more than About forty years ago, Alexander through the surveillance camera, one sees Mitscherlich pointed out a socio-historic its aesthetic style as ‘futur antérieur’ as well. difference between England and Germany. The commotion aroused by Wagg’s pictures throws light on the authority of _ Hecame to the following conclusion about video surveillance and its images. In the | “thé social organization in England: “The face of the human tragedy connected with “citizen is socially bound in two respects. Hefeelsasense of personal responsibility the pictures and indirectly experiencable because he has freedom to express criticism through them, every reflection on the at any time [...]. At the same time he mainmedium itself and on surveillance appartains his identification with the nation, ently seems to be ruled out. Only that symbolized by the monarchy.” As far as which is shown by the camera is allowed to German society is concerned, as late as be assessed; the camera itself and the 1963 he diagnosed the authoritarian charcontext of its image production become a acter of its institutions. “Guilt in Germany blind spot. All photojournalists delivering is associated, not with failure to exercise pictures from war or crisis zones are con-

ove all recall the


fronted by the moral question of why they only take a picture instead of intervening

criticism, but with the crime of disobedi-

in a situation. This question cannot be

Salar ‘differences, it could be possible

posed to a surveillance camera — but it can indeed be posed to a society that has delegated its responsibility to the video surveillance complex. Artists who subject particularly this new social contract to close examination using artistic means are now,

strangely enough — like photojournalists formerly — assessed according to the moral integrity of what they have done. The line of conflict Wagg gets caught in with his pictures is inscribed in video technology with its functions of splitting off and integration. Concretely speaking, this line is between the free discourse of an artist who, as an individual, reflects upon and takes up a stance to video technology, and








ence.”*? If one takes account ofthese Past | er Mitscherlich Society w/ rans.

Eric Mosbache

even today to discern differences regarding the uses and types of effect of video surveillance technology in each country. In England, video surveillance takes up the line of tradition established by an increasingly threadbare monarchy, and with it produces, if not a collective superego, at least an outward symbol, a technical gaze, without which social order is no longer ensured. It is characteristic that the old institution of the monarchy and the newlyestablished institution of video surveillance first came together in a publicly accessible picture upon the death of Princess Diana. With the death of Diana, the English royal family withdrew from its function of uniting


lal Psyc holo gy, 5



juu(pul a=

Video recording of the Hotel Ritz made

30 August 1997, 21.50:34 Princess Diana comes

into the hotel, Associated Press

the nation and passed on this mantle of responsibility to the gaze of the video surveillance camera. At the same time, in England as well, video technology is a mass medium that is accessible to everyone. Anyone can - like the artist Jamie Wagg — record images broadcast on television and process these into their “own” forms of utterance. The medium of video in UK is consequently informed by characteristics deriving from two discrete perspectives — that of potential individual appropriation

and that of collective identification. In Germany the situation is different. The introduction of video surveillance is not only taking place in the period after reunification, but also at a time when the way Germany sees itself within Europe is undergoing change. With reference to Mitscherlich, we can establish that a discussion culture of “critical examination” has established itself in the Federal Republic as a consequence of ’68 in the form of

citizens’ initiatives and protest movements,

and not least in the political landscape with the founding of the Greens. The citizens’ movements in the GDR and this country’s peaceful dissolution can also be noted in this regard. General symbols of group identification, on the other hand, appear to be more problematic, and are at any rate less enduring than the English monarchy, although the development of the D-mark created a new symbol with a leadership function, one that stands apart from the “law and order” of the institutions criticized by Mitscherlich. In Germany, both critics and proponents discuss video surveillance solely as a new version of an authoritarian institution. The latter welcome it as a disciplinary measure carried out by a ubiquitous, watching eye. Using it, a panoptic, divine gaze can be opposed to human hubris without any need of a personified power, and the old panopticon can be extended as a technical

| 475

Winfried Pauleit __ Video Surveillance and Postmodern Subjects

image strategy to include all areas of life. The former disapprove of precisely this authoritarian character as being an intrusion into the personal rights of the individual. Within these debates there is scarcely any position taken that goes beyond the pros and cons I have mentioned. Even the critical standpoints seldom formulate future perspectives, such as those regarding the consequences for subject constitution as discussed in the final section of this essay, or the concomitant shift from voice/ear to gaze/image — that is, from obedience to what one hears to obedience to what one sees. The new positions of power that arise during the assessment and interpretation of the images are also not discussed in this context. The possibilities of a “democratic” or individual usage of video technology — as described by psychiatrists like Oliver Sacks, whom I quoted at the beginning of this article, or as tested in exemplary fashion by artists like Friederike Pezold, Joan Jonas, Dan Graham, and Nam Jun Paik, to name

but a few—is cut out of this context, as are the very controversial experiences of the film and media studies departments that have been establishing themselves at universities since the 1960s, which were only able to make their subject accessible for study at all with the help of video technology. The experiences from the fields of psychiatry, visual art, and film studies are precisely the ones that could drive forward a revision of the paradigm of video surveillance that has been in force up to now. Beyond the TV container shows, the outdated “Big-Brother principle” could develop into the principle “petits fréres”: conceived as a versatile usage of video technology that, as the gaze of the “little brothers,” revolts against the ie} powerful.’ 30 _ The allusion is to the film Petits Freres by

Jacques Doillon (F 1998),

not have video surveillance as/its bis re ject, does concern itself with4

which, although it does ic securgty, especially

Vi eo survel lance and film studies he personality in the suburbs of Paris, as well as with the problem of splitting-off of part

The history h ‘of « film and media studies


he continues


“path to the f

@Ss Soc eh in a yery individual

as been bound 1 up with video technology

since the 1960s. Owing to a dovetailing ‘ practical, medial application and the

retrospective construction of film as a research object within the medium of video, it can now be seen as an arena for observing scientific experience with the surveillance complex. Before this, film historiography presented itself as an enterprise whose artifacts disintegrated into supplements and whose explanations mainly had to take recourse to the memories of cinema-goers in addition to these supplements. Film

studies seemed thus not to be, the

study of film, but rather the workingthrough of film memories. With the spread of video copies and recorders, the access to films changed. Here, both the recording on magnetic tape and the video recorder, with its command structure, as a technical reading cue are ofimportance. - Pause button and jog shuttle function like a technical from the a Bet Mephs of thevideo recorder. It was taken o index finger at can be moved over the

video recording in thesame way as soundwhen with this tendency. Jt not only improves picture and qua

studying a written text. Video surveillance possibilities by abolishing any tireso technology and its criminological utilization — has parallels to the use of the video recorder in film studies wherever both concentrate on event-centered characteristics and the ephemerality of an incident leaves only vague images in the memory. The pattern of argumentation in both disciplines is similar. Knut Hickethier writes: “The prerequisites for analytical, scientific study of media were only established when media productions could be recorded and reproduced as often as desired for the purposes of analysis. This is also true for the study

Gaetan bee ee towards media and cinema films, but to-

wards everyday reality; however, the pattern — of application remains basically the same. Thomas Y. Levin sums up the desire for video surveillance as follows: “In the era of surveillance, it seems as if interpersonal acts, even if they take place in the presence of witnesses, are no longer enough to constitute an event. An event — even a punishable offence — has only taken place when it has been subjected to a form of video

Das Hamburger Modell, ir Medienkultur,

in Ham-

1, 2001, p

(self)surveillance”. 33 _ Levin, op. cit., p, 60








The arguably most spectacular case of a video recording made by chance also confirms the increasing importance of the video as opposed to testimonies by witnesses.

The document known as the Rodney King video was the central piece of evidence in a court case dealing with a brutal police operation. 4 This video document was able to cast doubt on the credibility ofan : entire police staff and a court, as well asthe acceptance of the latter’s judgement, in a way unknown until then. The power of a single videotape against a multitude of testimonies as exemplified by this case holds out, on a more abstract level, the hope that “video surveillance” could be an objective authority and a democratic means of protecting the individual from despotism and violent force. Transferred to the study of film, a video recording gives an objective basis, democratic by virtue ofits accessibility, that is to be preferred to the remembered images of a cinema-goer: These, in fact, are

discredited by the existence of video. The change of medium from cinema film to home video can be underscored through the analogy to video surveillance. It involves at first replacing the film reception in the cinema by the empty, technical gaze of the video camera, before making (or transfiguring) the “secret” viewer into a detective in front of the monitor. The characteristic that film studies has in common with the utilization of video surveillance images is that neither, as a rule, reflects the specific mediality of its respective video images. In film studies, the film is “analyzed,”and police records departments study the details of a crime. Both disregard the video image as well as their own involvement in the event; they work at a distance from a meta-position. Nevertheless, both are the central coordinating points, which by analyzing the video add a commentary to the film or sequence of events, thus giving a meaning to what has happened. A critical objection to these attitudes does not necessarily lead to celluloid fetish-

ism or a general disparagement of video technology. On the contrary, ifone examines the medium of video at the same time, both film studies and the video evaluation of the police records department are led towards critical self-reflection. Their work then appears as a “recherche du temps perdu,” in whose (re)-constructive work those analyzing a film as part of film studies, or the police evaluator, always participate as well, with their prior experiences and cultural characteristics. In this regard, other “techniques” for the production of meaning, such as imagination and psychoanalysis, come into view again on a second level. For those in the field of film studies, this means

reflecting their participation as

reader on two different levels: once with regard to a grid of meaning into which the video film falis from the distant position on the monitor, which means including one’s own cultural clichés, including the unconscious ones, in the filmanalysis;2 and the secondtime2 through ttherecon tructi : of a cinematic presentation from the mind of the film analyst, that is, from their imagination. That which at first appears in the video as objective and factual is thus doubly dependent on the co-production of the person analyzing the film and their cultural memory. What the comparison of film studies and video surveillance promises is thus a mutual elucidation, on the one hand with regard to the mediality of video within these practices, and on the other with regard to the role and position of the criminologist or film analyst.

Post-modern subjects In the case of the introduction of video surveillance, it is thus not simply a matter of the end of the private sphere, but of changes going still further. Wherever the controlling image gains power, the belief in the symbolic order of language that characterized the modern subject is simultaneously lost. Nonetheless, our laws remain valid in a written form, and this

| 477

Winfried Pauleit __ Video Surveillance and Postmodern Subjects

means that the mediators between image information (pictures produced by video surveillance, for example), and their application or coordination in relation to written law (transfer) are becoming enormously important as central coordinating points

for the judgement of what is true or false. The arguments surrounding the interpretation of video pictures are, until now, chiefly familiar to us from American courtrooms (from the Rodney King trial, for example). In contrast, we are faced with a “condition postmoderne” of subjects, in which the visual image increasingly determines the relationship of the individual to society. Renata Salecl describes this social shift in a three-stage characterization of the different subject constitutions. In premodern societies, the identity of the subjects is secured through rituals or physical inscriptions. Modern subjects experience their identity by entering the symbolic order. Postmodern subjects are characterized by a loss of belief in the symbolic order. Salecl concludes: “But this lack of belief has not led simply to a liberation from law or from other forms of social restrictions. The postmodern subject no longer accepts the power of the institutions or the power of society to shape his/her identity, and sometimes believes in the possibility of self-creation,

perhaps in the form of a game with his/her sexual identity or by making him/herself into a work of art.736 Geltungsdrang, Jorg Huber, Martin





do justice to the fascination that it radiates? A fundamental shortcoming of quantitative recording by means of video surveillance is its inflexibility. Even swiveling cameras make little difference in this regard. Detective Chief Inspector Alan Hillmann from New Scotland Yard referred to this problem while in Berlin.” His recommendation was 37 _ Detective Chief Inspector Alan Hillman (New Scotland Yard), who was flown to Berlin to set up video cameras on a temporary part int Fecusslon on the pros_and cons of video technology in the Prussian Landtag on basis wherever a new dangerous ocation arises, thus preventing the

e Hughes brothers’ film “Menace II Heller (eds), Zurich 1998, pp. 1 5-185, here p. 170. Society” (USA 1993) shows impressively




New Line Productions

nology, and how can we at the same time

1999, admitted the inadequacy of videg Eee lees ,in many

36 -Renata Saleci, Sexuelle'Differenz als Einschnitt in den Korper, in /nszeni ferung und

Stills from Menace II Society, Hughes Brothers, USA 1993, color, 104 min . }

how postmodern subjects can be imagined in an interplay with video surveillance. In this film the importance of video surveillance pictures in a self-creation process is presented in an almost didactic manner. The film starts with a crime committed by the youthful protagonists, who shoot a shop owner and his wife for little reason. The crime is recorded by a video camera. The cunning youths steal the money, as well as taking the videotape. The recording of the murder is both evidence, sought in vain by the police during the film, and a form of self-proof for the young offender (O-Dog), making him a real “gangsta.” Beyond any games of self-enactment, this example points out how video surveillance actually produces images, and that what matters is who has right of disposal over the empty gaze and also whether the images become public or remain “private.” What attitude can we take to video tech-

part givesrmas econgmic reasons for sae


problem o

eing as

4 June

ayeas. The English police forée for its


i ting rom place to place

to take

between shop owners and police.

Lond a's inner re area 8 gat of video an ae as has been proven to pay off. It is exible networ flowin video surveillance precisely this “profit orientation” in the fight against crime that made the English model so successful,

Stills from Menace II Society, Hughes Brothers, USA 1993, color, 104 min New Line Productions

to be set up at any desired location in a city is, however, only economically viable when the cameras are directly connected up to the public network of glass-fiber cables, and when connection is possible throughout the entire metropolitan area. It is not yet foreseeable to what new television and video experiences this could lead. Perhaps, however, there is a way of linking the technical gaze back to human perceptions — and not just by attempting to put in place a democratic supervision of surveillance like in England. Instead, it involves having people, and not machines, doing the filming, and then making these people answerable not to the police, but to the fourth institutionalized power, the press, or even a fifth — the institution of the arts. This would even give us some advantage over the English: a completely flexible system that relies on a form of “surveillance” based on quality and not quantity. In the Berlin red-light district of Schoneberg, young unemployed people are used as watchpersons to increase residents’ subjective feeling of security. Before the authorities in Berlin invest in expensive video surveillance technology, it should be considered whether the young watchpersons should not perhaps be replaced by small film crews with a video camera and access

at the same location, but if there were plenty of personnel and cameras, they could be reckoned with at all times. Signs bearing the inscription “Emil and the Detectives Are on the Move with a Video Camera” would add to the effect. Quite by the by, the film crews could occupy themselves with aesthetic questions reaching beyond their future as watchpersons. It can be imagined that this manner of using cameras could be at least as successful as the video surveillance pilot project at the Leipzig Central Station, during which a mere

three of-

fences were registered in a year. This plan would come closer to the fascination of video surveillance, as it accords a higher value to the image, thus intensifying the self-creation desires of postmodern subjects. An experiment like this would give back the production of images to these postmodern subjects and make them responsible for the action in front of and behind the camera. Whether this image practice leads to a new relationship to society transcending delinquency and selfcreation desires is only dependent to a certain extent on practical experiment alone; above all, it depends on greater importance being accorded to research on the video surveillance complex and the emerging visual discourses.

to editing and broadcasting facilities. A little instruction in “cinema verité” or other forms of documentary film would be of some benefit. The video cameras would not be constantly on the streets or always

| 479

Jean Baudrillard

__ Telemorphosis

The problem with Loft Story IS three-fold: " ‘there. IS what happens in the Loft, which | is in itself uninteresting, and. In contrast so tothisinsignificance, there Is the immense e

fascination that itexerts. But, this fascination is itself the object critical


of fascination

In all

of this, where


original event: is only this mysterious chain,


for the is the

What remains

contagion, this viral






the other, and in which we are accomplices

right up to the analysis


Useless to

evoke all sorts of givens — economic, political,


— the market

is the market,

and all of the commentaries the cultural mass



effect is beyond

take part in market.




without common measure to its causes. This


it fascinating,

resists intelligence.








like everything that

First hypothesis: it is not despite the stupidity, but because of the stupidity and the very nullity of the spectacle, that the audience is constituted as such. This much seems assured. But here two possibilities present themselves, ones which are perhaps not mutually exclusive. Either the spectators immerse themselves in the nullity of the spectacle and enjoy it as their own image, everything suspended only for the occasion, or they enjoy feeling less idiotic than the spectacle — and therefore never permit themselves to watch it. In effect,

_this could be a strategy of the media,” to 1 italiciged


in the origjnal

— trans.]

offer spectacles that are more hollow and meaningless than reality — hyperreal in their stupidity and therein giving spectators a differential possibility of satisfaction. Seductive hypothesis, but one which supposes a great deal of imagination on the part of the program’s designers. It is thus necessary to confine oneself to the presumption of nullity — as one says of the presumption of innocence. And therein lies the key: this is radical democracy. The democratic principle was of the order of merit and of an equivalence (certainly relative) between merit and recognition. Here in the Loft, no equivalence between merit and glory. And everything in exchange for nothing. Principle of total nonequivalence. The democratic illusion is thus raised to its highest degree: that of a maximal exaltation for a minimal qualification. And, whereas the traditional principle only guaranteed merit a partial recognition, the operation of the Loft secures a virtual glory for everyone, by the very function of their absence of merit. In asense, it’s the end of democracy, through the extinction of every criterion of qualification, but on the other hand, it is also the result of a radical democracy, on the basis of the beatification of man without qualities. Itis a de facto leap into democratic nihilism. In this imbalance between merit and public recognition, there is a kind of rupture of the social contract, which leads to

another type of injustice and of anomaly: whereas one could accuse traditional democracy of not appropriately compensating citizens according to their true merit, here it would be necessary rather to accuse it of over-evaluating everyone indifferently, on the basis of nothing at all. At its extreme, this outlandish glory, bestowed on anyone at all, would have something of humor or of a ferocious irony about it —- because this form of radical democracy is a mockery of every establishment, of everything (whether politics, intelligentsia, or star-system) that claims a second-rate glory on the basis of its status and of its value. At the very least, the unfair competition produced by glory’s start-up reveals both the latent imposture of all systems of distinction, as well as the absurdity of a democracy involved in the worst possible logic. In effect, this says that if these new stars, aroused by insignificance and by transparency, if these usurpers produced by an unrestrained speculation on the egalitarian whole, if these pirates of the hit-parade don’t merit this excess of glory, then the society that gives itself the enthusiastic spectacle of this masquerade has received exactly what it deserves. Loft Story is both the mirror and the disaster of a society wholeheartedly caught in the race toward insignificance,

swooning over its own banality. Here, television has managed a fantastic operation of orchestrated consensusmaking, a genuine coup de force, a takeover bid on society as a whole, a kidnapping — formidably achieved in the way of a complete telemorphosis of society. It has created a global event (or better, a nonevent) where everybody ends up caught in a trap. “A total social fact,” as Marcel Mauss formulates it — except that in other

cultures, this signified the convergent power of all the elements of the social, whereas here it signifies the elevation of an entire society to the parodic stage of a complete farce, of an implacable

1 481

Jean Baudrillard __ Telemorphosis

same integrated domestic circuit? So, there return-image cashed in on its own reality. will soon only be auto-communicational In short, TV has managed what not even zombies, with only the umbilical relay of the most radical critique, not the most the return image — electronic misadvendelirious and subversive imagination, tures of deadened shadowy figures who, what no situationist mockery could ever do. beyond the Styx and death, wander alone Television has proven to be the most and pass their time by perpetually telling powerful in the science of imaginary soluthemselves their story. This will certainly tions. But if it’s TV that has accomplished develop further but only enough to give it, this, it is we who willed it to be so. Useless beyond the end, the retrospective illusion to accuse the powers of the media or the of reality — or the illusion of the social, but powers of money; useless to imagine the one evoked only in desperate interaction stupidity of the public in order to maintain with itself. the hope of a rational alternative to this One sign of this promiscuity is the complete technical and experimental compulsion of enclosure that we see socialisation in which we are engaged, and flourishing all around — whether it be the which results in the automatic linking “no exit” of the Loft, or that of an island, of of individuals in irrevocable consensual a ghetto of luxury, or of leisure, or whatever processes. From now on, let us call this the kind of closed space which recreates itself complete event of a society without conlike an experimental niche or a zone of tract, without rules or systems of values privilege — the equivalent of an initiatory other than a reflex complicity, without space wherein the laws of an open society rule or logic other than of an immediate contagion, of a promiscuity which mixes | are abolished. It is no longer so much about safeguarding a symbolic territory us up together (se méler) in an immense, than it is about retreating with one’s own indivisible being. We’ve become individuimage, living in promiscuity with it as ina ated beings, that is to say, undifferentiated niche, in incestuous complicity with it, in ourselves and undifferentiated from with all the effects of transparency and each other. This individuation, one in of return-image that are those of a total which we take such pride, has thus screen. And no longer sharing anything nothing of personal liberty about it; on the with others, outside of the relations of contrary, it is the sign of a general promisimage to image. cuity. Not necessarily that of bodies in Moreover, the Loft could just as well space — equally that of screens from one have been produced with synthetic images end of the world to the other. Without — and it will be later. But basically, they are doubt, therein lies the real promiscuity: already synthetic images. The gestures, the that of the indivisibility of all human pardiscourse, the actors already comply with ticles over tens of thousands of kilometres all the conditions of prefabrication and — like millions of twins that never succeed of programmed representation. Although in separating themselves from their the biological cloning of human beings doubles. Umbilicus of limbs. lies in the future, basically they’re already This promiscuity could also be one of a profile of clones, both mentally and an entire population made up of extras of culturally. the Loft. Or again, that of the “interactive” This promiscuity, produced by mental couple that projects its married life in coninvolution, by social implosion, but equally tinuity and in real time on the Internet. by “on-line” interaction, this disavowal of Who watches them? They watch themselves of course, but who else, since everyevery dimension of conflict, is it an accione can virtually climax (jouir) on the dental consequence of the modern evolu-








tion of societies, or is ita natural condition ofman, who would finally achieve peace by renouncing his social being as an artificial dimension? A human being, is it a social

being? It would be interesting to see what will come of all this in the future of a being without deep social structure, without an ordained system of relations and of values —in the pure contiguity and promiscuity of the network on automatic pilot and in a somewhat outdated coma — thus contravening all the presuppositions of anthropology. But then again, is not man, as

Stanislaw Lem says, a conception which is itself too anthropomorphic? In any case, in light of the success of Loft Story and of the enthusiastic loyalty to this mise en scene of experimental servitude, one can surmise that the exercise of freedom is certainly not a foundational given of anthropology. And equally, that ifhumans have ever exercised freedom, they have never ceased relinquishing it to the profit of more animalistic techniques of collective automatism. “If man poorly supports the freedom of others, it is because it does not conform to his nature; and because he does not even support it for himself” (Dostoyevsky). But, even more than this, because to his servitude people have added the taste for the spectacle of servitude. Actually, the program itselfhas degenerated very quickly into a televisual series similar to popular variety shows. And its audience grows according to the usual schema of media competing with each other, the result of which is that the program perpetuates itself in a prophetic mode — self-fulfilling prophecy. Ultimately, the rating-system is a trick, itself taking part in the spiral and in the return of the advertising logo. But all this is without interest. The only thing that is of interest is the original idea, that of submitting a group to an experience of sensorial isolation,’ in order to register the behaviour

3 _ Which, in other pla ces, would be a kind of calculated torture. But are we not in the process

of human molecules in a vacuum — an

_ of exploring all historic forms! of torture, served up in homeopathic doses, inthe guise of mass

oubtless, the intention of seeing them

tear each other to pieces in this artificial promiscuity. It has not come to that, but this existential micro-situation serves as a universal metaphor: of the modern being shut up in a personal loft which is no longer its physical and mental universe but is now its tactile and digital one, that of Turing’s “spectral body,” that of digital man caught in the maze of networks, of man become his very own lab rat.

The truly glorious feat is to deliver this literally unbearable situation to the gaze of the crowds, and to make them savor the episodes in an orgy without a tomorrow. A handsome achievement, but one which will not stop there. Snuff movies and televised bodily torture will soon follow, simply as a logical result (?). Death must logically enter the scene as an experimental episode. Not at all like sacrifice — it is at the same time that one tries to make death disappear technologically that it will make its reappearance on the screens as an experience of the extreme (revival forecasted, for certain groups, of trench warfare or of the Pacific combats — always Disneyland, but with a slightly more cruel infantilism). But at the same time, death reappears as pseudo-event, because — and therein lies the irony of all these experimental masquerades — parallel to the multiplication of these spectacles of violence grows the uncertainty as regards the reality of what one sees. Did this take place or not? The more one advances in the orgy of the image and of the gaze, the less one is able to believe it. Vision “in real time” only adds to the unreality of the thing. The two paroxysms, that of the violence of the image and that of the discrediting of the image, breed according to the same exponential function. Which means that one is forever committed to the deception (and more and more evidently with synthetic images), but is also stimulated by the very fact of the deception. For, this profound uncertainty (strategic, political — but to

culture or of the avant-garde? This is one of the principle themes of contemporary art.

| 483

Jean Baudrillard __ Telemorphosis

whose profit?) is located largely in the insatiable demand of this genre of spectacle.


when every individual splits himself for himself, into hostage and into hostage-taker. There is a long history of this evergrowing promiscuity, ever since the heroisation of daily life and its eruption into the historical dimension — up to the implacable process of immersion in the real, all too real, in the human, all too human, in

The twentieth century will have seen all sorts of crimes — Auschwitz, Hiroshima, genocides — but the only genuine and perfect crime is, according to Heidegger, “the second fall of man, the fall into banality.” The murderous violence of banality is, the banal and the residual. But the last precisely in its indifference and monotony, decade has seen an extraordinary accelethe most subtle form of extermination. ration of this banalization of the world, by A genuine theatre of cruelty, of our cruelty the relay of information and of universal toward each other, completely de-dramacommunication — and above all by the fact tized and without a trace of blood. It is the that this banality has become experimenperfect crime, in that it abolishes all its tal. The field of banality is no longer only stakes and effaces its own traces — but residual, it has become a theatre of opabove all in that, regarding this murder, we erations. Brought to the screen, as in Loft are at the same time both the murderers Story, it becomes an experimental object of and the victims. So long as this distinction leisure and desire. This is verification of exists, the crime is not perfect. Now, in all what MacLuhan said of television: that it is the historical crimes that we know of, the a perpetual test, and that we are submitted distinction is clear. Only in suicide are the murderer and victim one and the same. It | toitlike guinea pigs ina mental, automatic is in this sense that the immersion in | interaction. But Loft Story is a mere detail. It is banality is the equivalent of a suicide of “reality” as a whole which, with weapons the species. and luggage, has passed over to the other The other aspect of this murderous side, like in the film The Truman Show, banality is that it effaces the theatre of the where not only the hero is telemorphosed, operation of the crime — from now on, it is but all of the others are as well — both everywhere in life, on all screens, in the accomplices and prisoners in the bright very in-distinction of life and screen. Here light of the very same trick. There was a too, we are on both sides at once. And, time — in a film like The Purple Rose of while we are given images of other crimes Cairo — where the characters came out of and violence (Shoah, Apocalypse Now), at the screen and descended into the real least these images distinguish themselves world to become embodied there — poetic as such, while on the contrary, we are given situation-reversal. Today rather, it would this soft extermination not as an image but be reality itself which would transfuse en as a kind of spectacle (Loft Story and others) masse into the screen so as to disembody which itself takes part in the extermination and in which we all play our parts. itself there. Nothing any longer separates the screen and the world. The osmosis, the Weare faced with a genuine Stockholmtelemorphosis is absolute. syndrome* on the collective scale - when Ina reverse sense, Pleasantville gave the the’ hostage "becomes | complicit with the aie ‘taker —and thus,; with arevolution heroic example of a couple of young telechifollo our Swedes cofa concept of‘Noluntary servitude s se. feelings and vision viewers who come into the show for “oft the ma: ersle ve relation. When all of and screw up its course by re-injecting




ciety becomes ‘complicit. with those

human passions into it (as an aside, it is

oe who have taken it hostage, but equally

curiously not sex that resuscitates real life





and renders the colour of this world into black and white — the secret is elsewhere). But all this takes part in a back-and-forth between the screen and reality which is already nostalgic. Today, the screen is no longer that of the television, it is that of reality itself — one could call this complete reality. Loft Story is complete sociality. The immanence of banality, more real than real, is complete reality. Reality is a process on the way to completion, by the absorption of every fatal dimension into informational and virtual space, by the murder underlying the pacification of life and the enthusiastic consumption of this hallucinogenic banality. Return to limbs, to this crepuscular zone where everything comes to an end through its very realisation.

which we sprawl on the screen, which serves us as some sort of confessional (the confessional is one of the key places of the Loft). Therein lies our real corruption, the mental corruption — the consummation of this mourning and of this deception is a source of a frustrated enjoyment (jouissance contranée). In any case, the disavowal of this experimental masquerade nevertheless shows through in the deadly boredom (l’ennui mortel) which is released in and by it. All this says, one doesn’t understand why man wouldn’t openly claim his right to banality, to insignificance and to nullity — simultaneously with the opposite demand. Anyway, even the right itself takes part in the banalization of existence.

ee By way of a final interrogation, another

Translated from French by Sarah Clift

Somewhere, we carry the mourning of this naked reality, of this residual existence, of this total disillusion. And in this whole story of the Loft, there is something of a collective work of mourning. But this mourning also takes part in the solidarity which binds these criminals that we all are — the murderers in this crime perpetrated on real life, and in the guilty admission to


LOFT? In this utterly humorless immaterial world, what monster could really laugh in the wings? What sarcastic deity could, in their heart of hearts, really laugh at all this?

The human, all too human has had to return to his tomb. But, as is well known,

human convulsions serve the distraction

of the gods, who can only laugh.

{| 485

Jamie Wage __ ‘History Painting’, Shopping Mall, 15:42:32, 12/02/93 1993-94, digitally manipulated electro-static print on paper, laminated, 72 x 48 x 3”

__ ‘History Painting’, Railway Line 1993-94, digital print on paper, laminated, 72 x 48 x 3”

Security as Danger In May 1994 Jamie Wagg exhibited two pieces at the Whitechapel Open. He probably received more press coverage than he expected. The Daily Mirror published reproductions of them, works entitled Shopping Mail and Railway Line. The works themselves were already reworkings of video images, one of which was by then the best known image of the year, an image of two boys with a toddler, an image caught by a security camera. The toddler was James Bulger; the two boys were subsequently found guilty of killing him. What then followed in respect to the images at the Whitechapel, was, at a social level, a banal, even ludicrous, persecution of the images, the gallery and the artist. What makes Wagg had done that should call upon him the it interesting is the question of what Jamie fury of the media. The Daily Mirror ‘ed ie Bulger’s grandmother as saying “How can you call that art? I just call it sick.” Prominent in the story was the information that

the exhibition was sponsered by British Telecom. By the next day the Mirror was quoting the Bulgers’ solicitor Sean Sexton saying “I kindthe idea of someone profiting from the death quite appalling.” Inevitably within the press, the demand soon arose, for the Whitechapel to temporarily remove them. Catherine Lampert declined to do so. The demand was extended by James ae uncle who repeated what he had said to his sister “I told her that if the artist wants to pay tribute to James and stop causing distress to his family, he should have the pictures removed and destroyed as soon as possible.” (Sunderland Echo). Another uncle, Philip Bulger, exclaimed “I don’t know what you can say about someone digging all this up again and making pictures of it.” (East London Advertiser). But in any case, as uncle Ray Matthews observed, since the pictures were enlarged computer enhancements of photographs, “That means it is really just blown-up photography and that is definitely not art.” The starting-point of the question — why was Jamie Wagg visited with such fury by the media, must start with the image of the three boys which was derived from the security camera of the shopping center. This image had been used in the hunt for James Bulger








‘History Painting’,

Shopping Mall, 15:42:32, 12/02/93 1993-94, cartoon for

tapestry, digital manipulated electrostatic print on paper, laminated, 72 x 48 x 3” Jamie Wagg

[left] ‘History Painting’, Shopping Mall, 15:42:32, 12/02/93 1993-94, digital manipulated electrostatic print on paper, laminated, 72 x 48 x 3” Jamie Wagg Detail showing the damage caused by an unknown member of the public. This happened after an extensive press campain to have the work removed from display at the Whitechapel Art Gallery.

‘History Painting’, Railway Line 1993-94, cartoon for tapestry, digital manipulated electrostatic print on paper, laminated, 72 x 48 x 3” Jamie Wagg

and after his death this image became the icon of the story which the nation turned over and over in its mind. No image in the recent past had been reproduced so frequently nor was as immediately recognizable. But far from being an image of horror in the sense that what it represents is horrifying, it is an image of normality, of harmlessness, of nothing yet wrong. Insofar as the image includes the three boys we can read into it nothing of warning and dread, but only part of the infinite texture of the unremarkable. In its transformation into the image around which the public responds to James Bulger’s death was constructed, it would be difficult to think of a picture whose subject is not a murder, being yoked to a murder in such a decisive and inseparable manner. The image became the official signifier of James’ death, which was variously played out as the radical evil of the killers, the breakdown of domestic life, the failure of schools to discipline children or the costs of urban deprivation, and all the sufferings which Thatcher bequeathed. The “success” of the image may be explained by certain powerful characteristics of the image and the insertion of its reproduction in the media. The most important characteristic is the relation between the image and time. The image represents a moment when James Bulger is alive and in the middle of normality. But this moment is already caught up in the time when he is already unseen and already dead. From the beginning the image has another image and time projected onto it — the space in which we lose him. We watch him, here as in this image, as he lives; but he is already dead, out of our sight. Then we ask — how could we have lost a child? How is it that no one else found this child? We vow to keep children in sight as they are in this image but not as they become in this image. The double register of James Bulger ambling in a here and now which has already been lost, creates


Jamie Wagg __ ‘History Painting’

first exhibited in the History Painting, Shopping Mall and History Painting, Railway Line, were media attention Whitechapel Art Gallery in May 1994. The exhibition was dogged by massive

was in every daily newsdemanding the removal and destruction of these two pieces. This story (I have press cuttings paper in Britain (tabloid and broadsheet), and in many newspapers abroad . Examiner) Francisco San the as field a far as from the major arts The Whitechapel was closed for two days and a meeting of the chairpersons of all to keep the made was decision The do. to what decide to called was London in bodies funding work. the with displayed be to statement a work on show, but that I shoud write ” During this time I was called “SICK and EVIL” (The Daily Mirror), “STUPID and OFFENSIVE magazine, arts the in E” INSENSITIV and “TASTELESS and (The Independent on Sunday),

Untitled. Towards the end of the exhibition the work was attacked by an unknown member of the public and a thirty inch long scratch can be seen across the middle of History Painting, Shopping Mall. Jamie Wagg

1994, Second edition,

a grief of repetition in which the image starts again and again in the time that it takes to

photocopy and wax on wood panel,

1 isp 6 ose him again.














This “signifier” — the image of the children in the shopping centre, circulates through the media with something of the following effect: What are we to think or to do to them about him? How can we save him in the future? “He” is James Bulger but not only James Bulger ... he is the representative here of anyone you might fear to lose. This is not necessarily a child: it could be a parent. It, might be anyone who was represented as vulnerable. “They” are the two boys, the mysterious causes of the tragedy. They are to be interrogated; they need to be understood or indeed limits need to be set to comprehension, so that we may prevent them and their sort fepeating their actions. In them the registers of understanding and punishment draw close together. But above all, who are “we”? We,

x aisle 4amie Wagg

as we look at the image in the newspaper, aré all those who immediately identify with the scene which the shot has established. Like the camera we want to see James Bulger because that guarantees he is alive; “we” then are whoever identify with that shot. media aids the campaigns that continued The circulation of the image through after the trial, especially the petition to seek|that James’ killers would be imprisoned for the rest of their natural lives. Now this system of circulation, this system which produces such powerful effect and such passionate connections, is founded upon a number of repressions and displacements. Indeed it is the argument here, that Jamie Wagg, by removing the image from the system of circulation in which it was embedded, by splitting the signifier from the signifieds of assertions and judgments which had been thought to be the natural consequence of the signifier, brought down on his head the anger of a media, whose role had been uncovered by art. An early and fundamental repression in the whole relation between the Bulger case and the images concerns the relation between safety and security. The shot of the boys, the shot with which we identify, suggests the space of safety. Indeed the image is the very image of safety despite its tragic character. It is of a toddler seen, held in the gaze of safety. But the pathos of this safety has, as it were, an anamorphotic underside, an anamorphosis which is Jamie Wagg’s subject. The gaze of safety turns out to be nothing of the kind. His picture re-imagines the scene no longer as a scene of safety but as a scene of security. For the shot of the boys never represented the concerned look of parental care. It was an empty look, the look of a security camera. Nothing could be further from the parental function than a security camera. It does not look; it records. In spaces such as shopping malls, its functions are twofold. Its very presence is supposed to warn of the opportunist thief. Beyond that, its function is to record. In the event of a crime, by recording it, the tape identificates the criminal both for purposes of detection and conviction. The “time” of the security camera lies always in the future of itself, in the role it will play








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Documentation: Daily Mirror, Wednesday, 25 May 1994, p. 11

after an event. It comes into play only in respect to the event. Its name is security not

safety, and the two things are quite different. Possibly they are in contradiction. Security as it is deployed in shopping malls is devoted to property, not persons. Its concern as a system is to protect and to assist the criminal justice system in prosecuting

theft and damage to property, It has no concern with the safety of persons and its spread, though public spaces, may well have made those spaces less rather than more safe. This is especially so as it tends to displace the number of human attendants who, whatever may be their job description of safety. Consequently, by identifying with the image of the boys as an image of them held in a gaze, the popular circulation of the image was profoundly

| 489

Jamie Wagg

‘History Painting’

misleading. Far from the tragic moment at which the boys were still with us, there never was an “us”. They were caught by a security video whose purpose is not to see in the present, still less to look after, but to identify humans subsequent to an event. There is no tragic contradiction between this image of James Bulger and the loss of James Bulger. The video image records them from the point of view of a future, subsequent identification. By definition, the more “secured” a territory is in respect to property, the less the safety of humans becomes an objective. For the purpose is to protect the territory and the property against humans. All the humans who show up on the screen are suspects. What the public identified with was not a tragic photograph but the functioning of an identification machine. Its function was to assist prosecution, not to rescue. What it seeks to make secure is property, not children. Jamie Wagg’s image has taken out the obscurity of this situation and has exposed it for what it is - an image in a system of danger for children. This confusion, between the gaze of an anxious parent and the empty indifferent register of a security video has its corollary in another distinction that is at work in the media’s system of repressing the issue of safety. It is in the strange use within all this story of the distinction between the categories of “public” and “private”. The death of James Bulger is a “private” affair; the family’s grief is “private”. But from this understandable beginning, strange consequences follow. The newspaper coverage of the affair is also “private” because it is merely “representing” a private matter. Perhaps this is because newspapers are private companies. By contrast to this, Jamie Wagg’s art work was “public” and thus answerable to public scrutiny in a way which newspaper coverage is not. The art







History Painting, History


1996, computer generated ink jet on canvas,


seems public because it is hung in a public institution; and it is public because it is not simply representing a private grief, but intervening within that system with a sign of a different order. Only some such account can explain the otherwise preposterous allegation that the art work was a public intrusion on a private grief, an offence made worse by Jamie Wagg placing a price tag on the work. When one considers what must have been involved financially in all the events surrounding the case, the payments for newspaper stories, photographs, books on the case, not to mention the myriad payments made by the media to experts and others who involved themselves in the case, the fact that it is two unsold works on the wall of the Whitechapel which attract all the denunciation of profiteering certainly invites interpretation. And yet behind the moral and financial absurdities of the media’s position is a consistent, if largely unconscious, rationale. The newspapers claim a kind of copyright over the representation of daily existence. Any other register of intervention is potentially in breach of this copyright, this monopoly on a system of identifications. Especially if the art work challenges not only the standard representation but the system of its dispersal. In fact Jamie Wagg’s work is public, deliberately removed from the sphere of the elaboration of a story and set out differently as a comment and an embodiment of that difference. The work seeks to set the image of the boys i a public space of memory which does not repeat identifications but works through the . Itis a work in search of a public sphere in which canonic images are set within the historical and political conditions of their emergence. It is probably right that the newspdpers expressed such outrage, for the work challenges the space of representation and identification within which newspapers coin it. The media utilize well-worn tropes of “outrage” against contemporary art. Whether it has been nappies in the case of Mary Kelly, bricks in the case of Carl Andre or a cow in the case of Damien Hirst, the outrage is between the “ absurdity” of the object and the insult offered to the public because of their connection in gne way or another with public institutions or public money. The populist fury that “they” |have been funded has led the move towards censorship to shift from the legal prosecutian of the object to the administrative attempt to curtail the financing of such work or the financing of the spaces which exhibit this work. Now the object of censorship is not the object itself, but the condition of its exhibition. The object of attack is the public finance or the public space of the exhibition of the object. There is something here which seems even more insidious than the frank legal ban on the object. For it installs a distinction between the private and the public which is not so much about the distinction between the unseen and the visible, as it is between money which is directly owed and money which is raised for public objectives. This is doubtlessly a clumsy distinction, but it is one which attempts to capture a current distinction between the public and the private. The newspapers in the James Bulger case must be assumed to have spent large sums of money covering the case, and buying the stories of those close to it. Their actions, even if offensive to someone, are unconstrained in some mysterious

way because they are “private”, a strange idea but one which seems to relate to paying one’s own way. By contrast an action seems to be “public” if financed or exhibited by any agent other than itself (it will be remembered that British Telecom sponsored the Whitechapel show). By “public” is meant that any private agent may challenge it. The legitimacy of any public art is then diminished if anyone objects to it. This position, concerning the difference between private and public, is important because it is the same distinction that ran through the very Bulger case and upon which the interpretation of the security camera existed. Mark Cousins

| 491

Dieter Froese Not a Model for Big Brother’s Spy-Cycle 1982/83, two color cameras, four monitors, four cardboard monitors, two cardboard cameras, two channel video tapes, 45 min, nine participants, voice: Susan Britton

The common tools of surveillance, namely the camera and the monitor, are generally concealed from their subjects in order to gather information covertly. However, cameras can also be displayed in order to intimidate persons who believe that they are observed by those empowered to discipline or punish them. In the field of surveillance, certain theatrical techniques are effectively exploited to evoke fear and apprehension. A fake television monitor — blatantly an empty television prop — becomes a symbol of absurdity. Not A Model for Big Brother’s Spy-Cycle is the third in a series of video installations that deal with the circular transportation of information as it is used by the authorities as a form of mass control. Surveillance, backed by Fae, is seen by some individuals as a narrow field of communication, which functions solely to preserve the status quo. This installation concerns surveillance, and heme ite: as its point of departure. The work is composed of three interacting elements: the interrogation of artists, live components, and sculptural components. ee video piece, shows the artist’s friends The interrogation, a pre-recorded ee being grilled by him in unrehearsed mock mipneators On one channel the participants respond to questions. On the other channel they appear in what might seem suspect behavior. The methods and styles of questigning are based on the depiction of the CIA, the KGB and Gestapo in B-movies. | The live components of the installation jnclude a video camera which pans between monitors and transmits the re-scanned images to other areas of the circular installation. Another camera re-scans the images again and closes the cycle. The sculptural components, cardboard “dummy” cameras and monitors which are interspersed throughout the installation are inspired by commercially available “dummy” cameras. The plywood pyramid and fake gun prop are symbols of intimidation and power.

Reprint from Culture Medium, exhib. cat. International Center of Photography, New York 1989

Dieter Froese, July 1989

Unprazise Angaben — Not a Model for Big Brother's Spy-Cycle 1982/83 Dieter Froese Installation views Stadtisches Kunstmuseum Bonn, 1987








The piece, Not a Model for Big Brother’s Spy-Cycle, is the third in a series of installations which deal with the circular transportation of information.

Unprazise Angaben

—_- Not a Model for Big Brother’s Spy-Cycle 1983, pencil and

The other two, entitled Closed Democratic Cycle and Dead Cycle, work with poles anid Cates ouflage, this piece deals with surveillance and takes as the point of departure Interrogation. Not a Model for Big Brother’s Spy-Cycle is composed of three interacting elements: 1) The Interrogation, a pre-recorded, two channel video tape 2) Live Components of the Installation:


Dict, oe |

color video cameras, color monitors, microphones and speakers

3) Sculptural Components of the Installation: “dummy” monitors and “dummy” cameras (video equipment made of cardboard and wiremesh).

1) The Interrogation Artist friends agreed to take part in an unrehearsed ‘mock’ interrogation. Two 30 min. segments resulted from the edited recording. One channel shows the participants responding to questions posed by an off-camera interrogator. The other channel presents the same participants against the background of various cityscapes, engaged in what might appear to be suspect behaviour. The method and style of questioning is based on cliches employed in B-movies on the CIA, KGB and GESTAPO. This two channel tape represents the “software” of the installation. 2) Live Components of the Installation - Ideally, the installation is set up in two spaces, interconnected by an open stairway.

| 493

Unprazise Angaben — Not a Model for Big Brother's Spy-Cycle 1982/83 Dieter Froese Installation views Stadtisches Kunstmuseum Bonn, 1987

Live mitting stations The channel

video cameras (mounted on customized, timed pan-heads) scan the spaces transtheir video and audio information to color monitors attached to the walls at various throughout the installation area. monitors at two of the stations serve as injection points for the pre-recorded two interrogation piece.

Each camera pans in an arc between two monitor stations, re-scanning not only the

information being displayed at each station but also picking up whatever live activity may be taking place within its sector of surveillance. The audio-visual information from this camera is then forwarded to a third station which is included in the scanning radius of the next camera and so on until the circle has been closed in a kind of endless loop. 3) Sculptural Components of the Installation Systematically interspersed in the installation cycle are cardboard models of cameras and even cardboard and wiremesh models of monitors. Inspired by the commercially available “dummy” cameras which are widely used as tools of public intimidation, these models are obviously recognizable as theater props.

In the theater of fear evoked by surveillance a fake monitor is a symbol of ultimate absurdity. Dieter Froese, 1986







Reprint from Dieter Froese. Unpr An,

Not a Madel for Big Brother's Spy-Cycle, exhib sat. Stadtisches Kunstmu A Bonn p. 51

Dieter Froese __ Not A Model for Big Brother’s Spy-Cycle

Unprazise Angaben


— Not a Model for Big

For how long have you been active in this so-called art world? — I have already told you that the last time. What do you intend to do with your art?

rpc Spy-Cycle Dieter Froese Installation views

— To keep on doing it. That is all? By what means? — With all available means.

Stadtisches Kunstmuseum Bonn, 1987

For instance? — Computer. So, you don’t paint any paintings? — I overpaint sometimes.

Do you have sexual motives? —I sure do. Who’s your work intended for? — For myself of course. ... and what do you do with it? — I] put it aside. You must make a living somehow? — From one day to the next. You don’t mean to tell me that you can live on your art? — For sure not. But then I did not say that either. What are you up to, anyhow? — If only I knew. If only you knew what? — What I’m up to. Why don’t you know that? — Again, if only I knew. Did it ever occur to you to ? — Someone seems to take an interest in it, you for instance!! What purpose does it serve? — Purposelessness. Isn’t there an art market for the kind of stuff you make? — That is yet to be found, I think. Are you looking for that market? —No.

Why do you think that it’s yet to be found? — That’s a good question, I don’t know. What are you doing in this city. What do you want here? — Well, whenever I’m not being interrogated, I enjoy myself immensely. Do you use colors in your work? — You have already asked me that once. Well, 0.k., do you use colors in your work? — What did I answer the last time?

Why don’t you tell me the truth? — Because the truth changes all the time. Did you ever abuse your grants for personal gain? — Always. So you did receive grants? = Yes.

Reprint from

RS aa Not aModel for Big Brother's

Spy-Cycle, exhib. cat. Stadt 1987, a eo co ae

What for? — To further my goals.

I thought that you didn’t have any goals.

— That was my former statement.

And you’re changing that now?

~ Yes, because now the situation has changed as well.

| 495

Chris Petit Surveillance 1993, video, black-and-white, sound, 17 min

Visual Irony as Virus in Panoptic Structures: Logic of Fact and Anti-Truth in Chris ‘ Petit’s Surveillance Panopticsm’s main obsession in the twenty-first century seems to be capturing fragments

of truth in what is openly stated as an endless fiction. The voyeur’s self-referential structure reinforces the dictatorship of entertainment (or, better, the news-system as the perfect form of entertainment in a wholly monitorized, plotted and a-historical reality), in other words, to evoke residual reality caged to the semi-aware status of everyman-as-apossible-actor, to make inner sense come out and be visible, to spy and digest the truth of feelings and emotions beyond the conditioned behaviors of the panoptic world’s model citizen. In the reification of an everyday life|addicted to viewing, one discovers a further with the same old aim of keeping alive the form of surveillance and “dataveillance”


1993, installation view


Center for Art and

Media, eecnt

fragmented voyeur-army’s attention. This tendency can easily explain the planetary success of the soap-operatic “eavesdropping” of global TV programs like Big Brother. Instead of all this, the entirety of Christ Petit’s TV works js an attempt to reverse the same process, to : : ae é mocka reality caught alive and unaware, and to transform it into a sham for the unmasking: revealing the existence of a deeper level of de¢eption within the apparently objective realm of images. The challenge is not to demonstrate through images, but in spite of them. The principal means of this mutiny of images in |Petit’s short video Surveillance is a viral form of visual irony, a result of a detournement of ee spy-camera recordings of unscheduled events: a forerunner of “elusive zapping” through the so called “Reality TV” form. As a matter of fact, the main narrative adhesive of this fictionalized world, caught by hidden cameras, is found in the rhetorical use of the time of viewing as “realtime”: an illusory reflection of the ubiquity of the unicentrical spectator who is allowed to witness events unilaterally as they take place elsewhere, without the need of his presence on location and with the illusion of being protected from any consequence of participation: a limbo of total comprehension but no possible feedback. In other words, real time is the officially recognized quality of “visual truth” in the ideology of surveillance. To internalize the sense of real time is to be definitively locked into the logic of disciplinary society, which works only in the present tense, moment-by-moment, deleting - in its endlessly describing self — any sense of a criticizable or even interpretable history of past events. Multiplying the points of view of a single event and assembling them into a unique, split and fragmented space of vision (as in Big Brother), is the last step of real-time panopticism. Through the skill of shifting and assembling different times of the same event, or even different events in the presumed same time, Petit creates a sort of anti-truth in Surveillance, another dimension of the visual events analogous to what is called antimatter in physics. Petit breaks the panoptic illusion by inserting the possibility of doubt,

multiplicity, and contradiction into the experience of realtime vision: thus, he denies the insignificance of the presumed-casual events and makes perceptible a sort of negative strength of the vision.








Surveillance 1993, videostills Chris Petit and Illumination Films, London

Created for the “BBC Late Show,” Surveillance is a ten minute found-footage opera, partly inspired by Chris Marker’s La jetée, a kind of post-human involuntary thriller cinema. The film’s vocal commentary contains an emblematic Godard quotation, which explains the similarity between surveillance tapes and the silent movies of the Lumieére brothers, a cinema before stories or the industrial organization of shooting materials: a topographical record of time and casualty, where only the people, weather and streets are acting. Even the low definition (one of the stylistic ciphers of Petit’s videos) brings one back to the time of pre-globalized and fully surveyed reality, whose opposite is localized, void, unrecognizable space, a sort of desert landscape inside a civilized world. In Surveillance, events are no longer captions of explanations given by someone else as they usually are in TV: the logic of representation is overwhelmed by the logic of arbitrariness. The complete emptiness reached by the surveillance camera’s involuntary cinema makes those void fields become, as in a detective story, full of mystery and suspense by their lack of events. In this total absence of the logic of factual evidence, viewers have to speculate to understand what they see, forcing them to find clues of reality amongst nothingness. This becomes the most ironic way of setting free their passive and chained-up visual imagination. Serafino Murri

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Bart Dijkman __ Observation #762 1997, video, black-and-white, sound, 7 min

“Almost every day, I see this man performing the same actions, and I can't help wondering what comes over him each time. And, in fact, the starting point of this video work is the wish, as it were, to zoom into his brain, and to register in sound and image the exhilaration of his neurosis.” (Bart Dijkman) Observation #762 is without doubt a work whose imagery is very reminiscent of the video material produced by surveillance cameras. The simplicity of the images makes it look like an accidental recording, one made by a camera that is constantly gathering images without being operated by anyone. The observation seems to have been selected out of thousands of hours of video footage iFthe artist just happened to come across. Even the title suggests a stroke of luck; on observation found among many hundreds (fragment or even tape #762). What we are presented with is utterly simple. We witness how a man parks his car and is subsequent seized by a neurosis. He remains in his seat, rummages about in the car, and then gets out, visibly racked by doubt. Then he changes his mind, gets back into the car, and ah his rummaging about in or on the dashboard in front of him. Then he gets out again, hesitates again, gets back in, gets out again, over and over. The longer this continues, themore absurd the action becomes. For almost


seven minutes you gaze at the indecision| of an eccentric figure, whose behavior is ridiculous and at the same time pitiable. a the situation is recognizable as well as rassment and amusement. It is difficult to absurd, our reaction hovers between emba decide on a’standpoint with regard to this action. But it is not only the action itself that creates confusion; gradually, the recording also appears to be less accidental. Purposeful choices were made in the area of the form (camera standpoint) and manipulations implemented (sound effects), which influence the viewer’s reaction and make you share in this person’s desperation. The flirtation with the surveillance imagery plays an important role in this. The similarity is deliberate: the decision to use black-and-white, the impersonal recording without zoom or movement. The position of the camera is high, so that it has a good overall view of the spot that has to be kept under observation. The trunk of the tree that cuts across the composition of the image betrays its hidden position. It is clear to see that the man does not know he is being filmed, and is not trying to be anything other than he is in reality. It appears as if we have caught him behaving in the way he only does when he is alone, when there is no social control. So here, the surveillance imagery is put to use as unpolished realism. No effort seems to have been made to embellish what is happening in front of the camera. What matters is simply the presence of the camera that merely registers, making our confrontation with his behavior even harder. But this simplicity in realism is deceptive. The camera standpoint is not functional enough for a proper surveillance job. Its range of vision could be hugely enlarged by a small adjustment, so the camera could be used much more effectively. This limitation creates

suspicion. It does not seem to be about registering the place (the primary task of








Observation #762 1997, videostill ZKM | Mediathek, videocollection, Karlsruhe

| 499

Bart Dijkman __ Observation #762

surveillance cameras, because the what and how of the situation are as yet unknown), but rather, about a different use of the camera: the registration of a specific action. This is taking

place exactly within the field of vision of the camera, which makes you doubt whether it was recorded by accident. The precise framing suggests that Dijkman had been watching this man before, and has now positioned the camera secretively, carefully measuring the perspective. This is why the recording brings to mind the use of video in psychology and psychiatry. A form of surveillance whereby patients are filmed in order to allow a detailed study of their behavior, so that coincidence plays a much less important role. And precisely in this ambiguity of the video material lies the beauty of the work. The form suggests an ambivalent use of video; of subtle construction versus the hard registration of reality. Not only the framing detracts from the reality or realism of the images. In particular, the emphatic presence of the sound makes the viewer suspicious; to a great extent, the sound dominates the meaning of the filmed action. The man’s indecision is grotesquely accentuated by the suggestion that the sound is actually coming from the car radio. Itis a shrewdly chosen musical fragment, from the aria Patience, from Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, which not only gives the character’s desperation a new context (the man seems to have endless patience), but also gives the prolonged agony of the action-striking depth. In Bart Dijkman’s own words, “I saw how, before locking it, the man kept getting back into his car. I couldn’t use this action at first} unless I provided it with a distinct weight of content. By turning the radio on and off, AAand off, you create the perfect forerunner — the signal of the problem — for the end sequence. It also further removes the whole issue from the car.” Despite this momentous ae on, the man’s paranoid desperation remains disguised as a joke, as if it were a staged Candid Camera situation (a hybrid intermediate form of surveillance; the makers hope br ara worth recording will happen, as opposed to a purely coincidental registration). But because no-one tells him that this is a practical joke, the man’s reality becomes even more painful. Then there is the sound of the Bree airds, which turns the peace and quiet of the moment into a caricature. But as soon as the man appears on the scene, the relaxed atmosphere abruptly comes to an end, because the birds fall silent and the only sounds claiming attention are those from the action (the slamming of the doors and the added musical sounds). Not until the man leaves does the sound of the birds swell up again. The artificial silence has a twofold effect: it underlines the loneliness of the moment for the central character, who is completely absorbed in his own mental world, and it also illustrates the lack of understanding of people who are confused by his behavior. The standpoint of the camera suggests a spot amongst the birds. As viewer, you share the vantage point of the birds, and their reaction determines yours. With his tactical sound effects,

Dijkman alienates the recordings from reality. And yet, the recorded scene never loses touch with reality. After all, the man is recognizable, thereby maintaining an extremely confrontational link with reality. For a long time, Dijkman left the person intact, that is to say, he left the man recognizable to the viewer. But due to the growing popularity of the film, more and more people came to see it, and this forced him to make concessions for fear of recognition, and to sacrifice this embarrassing form of realism. To protect the person, his face was “scrambled” to make him anonymous. The vulnerability of the individual image made way for a much more general one. On the one hand, this meant sacrificing a principle of surveillance — the power of identification — but on the other, it also gave the work a more recognizable element of surveillance, by showing it in the way in which it appears on television. In popular “real-life-action” police series, this “scrambling” constantly reminds us of the fact that we








are watching real villains (actors have no need of a disguise). Here, too, everything revolves around the action rather than something specific: the person. Making the person unrecognizable is a huge intervention in the meaning of the work, but perhaps because of this, it fits even better into Dijkman’s oeuvre. Bart Dijkman is an artist who has been making use ofvideo since the mid-1980s. He has investigated a huge diversity of genres, varying from short, narrative films (made with minimal resources) during his art-school years, to accessible animation films in the late 1980s. Dijkman refuses to confine himself to a single film language and prefers the use of various genres in which to wrap up his ideas. For instance, Billy (1990) appears to be an innocent animation film, but the tenor of the story (a seriously ill mother is given poisoned flowers by her son) is in sharp contrast to this. Or Talk Now (1994), in which the subject matter, stuttering, is cloaked in the cliché of a Hollywood trailer. And Dijkman generally shows a striking preference for human defects as subject matter for his work. Time and time again, it is the (often congenital) handicaps or phobias of the main characters that determine the course of the story. And by choosing a particular genre, he manages to give an even more confrontational slant to the impairment in question. From this point of view, the choice of capturing the paranoid man in Observation #762 with surveillance imagery is remarkable. This shows that Dijkman regards the surveillance video as a recognizable language, but he erodes its most typical characteristic — surveillance as an unpolished representation of reality — as much as possible by means of small manipulations, in order to make his rendition of the subject even more striking. The additions enhance the authenticity of the an’s behaviour. By erasing the individual recognizability, he inserts a sublime layer. It actually makes the material more identifiable as “real” to the public, while it is in fact further removed from reality. Without intending to, Bart Dijkman penetrated deeper into the|language of surveillance as a genre. Bart Rutten

| 501

Kurt Caviezel

Red Light

1997, series of photographs, black-and-white, each 12 x 16°

The pictures in the series Red Light (1997) show the different ways people behave while _ in their cars ata red light.’ Kurt Caviezel took them from one of the windows of his apart“ment, ‘whichislocated ata ‘busy intersection in Zurich. Consequently, all the photos are from an almost identical angle, from above and at a slant and we can always see through a windscreen into that private domain which is the car interior. In this way, Caviezel presents us with the extensive repertoire of movements, gestures, and reactions demonstrated

by people waiting, as if they were appearing on a stage. And although they are not stars, then at least they are engaged in a one-man show. We see people making telephone calls, eating, yawning, reading, stretching, picking their noses or their teeth, accessing their PDAs, squeezing out zits, cuffing their passengers, fussing over their babies, leafing through city maps and atlases, smoking, laughing, holding hands, embracing, and kissing. Caviezel collects and classifies his material but is not interested in making a systematic inventory of behavior patterns. What the photos say to us is simple: at this time and in this location somebody did this or that. The effect of this series of images unfolds within the gravitational field of the ontological nostalgia of photography — the prevailing tone of what Roland Barthes termed their “ca a été” whith defines the aesthetic domain like a background noise and arouses our curiosity. In his concept for the series Web-Cam-Portraits (2001), which is also located on that borderline between the private and the public, Caviezel again questions the reliability of technical media as witness. He downloads images from the Internet, prints them out on an ink-jet printer, and manipulates them to produce photographic negatives or prints. And what we actually see is unusually high-resolution images of scenes that could hardly be more banal: people trailing around in dressing-gowns, looking curiously into refrigerators or stretching out on the sofa.

From the series Web-Cam-Portrait: Boni canals oa’ eye











As in Red Light, Caviezel’s subject is the banality of the quotidien as it is displayed in the media to an increasing extent. In terms of artistic concept, he distances himself from

Kurt Caviezel

an unbroken panoptism. All his images are characterized by the strategic generation of







From the series Red Light 1997, photograph, black-and-white, 12x 16" Kurt Caviezel

blurring, coarse-grained effects, scratches, of reflections. Processing becomes a means of enhancing the notion of the kind of perceptional situation we are familiar with from the world of criminals. Within the logic of this|optical frame, the photographs connote the fixing of a trace or amoment which has an exposing and explanatory function in each concrete case in question. However, “all” there is to discover in Caviezel’s photos is the trivial and ordinary things that make up our daily lives. Karl Popper once wrote: “When observing, we are engaged in a form of perception that has been prepared according to a plan, one that we do not ‘Possess’ but rather ‘make’ ”* And it is this process of “making” e Als something purelyvisualwithout meaning W ith ae Caviezel confronts us. Christine Karallus From the series Red Light 1997, photograph, black-and-white, 12x16" Kurt Caviezel

| 503

A.P. Komen & Karen Murphy __ Couples 1993, installation, video U-Matic, color, sound, 26:22 min, edition of three

For the 1993 installation Couples, A.P. Komen tapped four car telephone conversations and combined them with evocative images reminiscent of home video. Thus we see a family get-together in a living room which has been voyeuristically filmed from outside in the darkness, while we listen to a conversation between a married couple which reveals that the wife suspects her husband of having a mistress. Or we see a fiercely lit window filmed in Candid Camera style at which a woman is changing a baby’s diaper, while we listen to a conversation between a mother and her homosexual son about the

breakup of his relationship. In all four parts of Couples there is a strong tension between the filmed images, the occupied by the viewer. The possibility of tapped phone conversations and the position eavesdropping on the intimate phone conversations of strangers and spying on scenes

filmed using concealed cameras makes the yiewer feel both curious and ashamed. In this way the work refers to the ever thinner line between what is private and what is public. This can be clearly seen in the explosive growth and success of talk shows in which guests brazenly reveal intimate matters in front of millions of TV viewers. At the same time there is the rapid rise of telephone sex, in which complete strangers exchange intimate experiences on a basis of anonymity, and the Internet, where again the borders between private and public are explored andjaltered. These kinds of artworks and installations are characteristic of a new generation of artists. This generation does not hesitate to use modern media such as large-scale video projection, bugging devices, cd-rom, and home video, and link them in a natural, unpretentious way to everyday matters. These matters may not seem sensational, but to a

large extent they determine and affect the lives of us all. Thus from that which appears x b ‘ . z . casual, A.P. Komen and Karen Murphy succeed in making compelling installations in an ‘i


exhib. cat. Van Abbe Museum,

Eindhoven 1994

honest and individual way.

Couples 1993, videostills Komen & Murphy, courtesy Montevideo/

Jaap Guldemond

Time Based Arts, Amsterdam






Reprint from Panic Wagon,

A.P. Komen/Karen Murphy




1993, videostills Komen & Murphy, courtesy Montevideo/ Time Based Arts, Amsterdam

G.R.A.M. Cote Noire 1998, photographs, black-and-white, each 16 x 24°

“As a society, we have become obsessed with the gaze of the videocam, not only because we perceive that it brings us ‘security’ but also because we are fascinated fee much, a culture of voyeurs.” visual Tepresentation of ourselves. Today, . we areveryI oO eBecause, after all,‘farfrom being singular, iimagery is legion. It proliferates. One image sticks, the image surface will attach breeds another. And then again, because ee : itselfpromiscuously to any other surface.” ), Towar

3 _ Glinther


of the


Jan van



In 1987, Giinther Holler-Schuster, Ronald Walter, Armin Wanner, and Martin Behr eir joint works centered on the phenomena founded the artist quartet G.R.A.M. in Graz. of mass culture and the media-based natu of today’s society. They use mostly found material, pictures from newspapers, magazines, and agencies which they rework in their artistic process, or have re-worked. The cliche pictures from the routine and material world together with the aesthetics characterize their works. Like DJs, they use existing material, sample it, re-mix it and place it in a new context in their works. In 1987, the group of artists spent halfla year in Los Angeles. Surrendering to the glamour of Hollywood, the four set out on eir hunt for stars and starlets. On the search for prominent figures, they soon also began to terrorize their immediate vicinity with the camera. “We filmed everything in L.A. that moved. Both stars and unknowns. "3 Like the Holler-Schuster, in: Suddeutsche Zeytung,7 pril 1998, Julia Grosse, Auf der Sughe nach de dba n Be ied eae i uild,tkose sensatio n hungry 5pho ographers, ‘they pursued their fellow persons oe going about their dai y occupations. The distinct difference, however, is that they lie in wait not only for the modern jet-set but also for the people nearby who are observing. With zoom and telephoto lenses they edge up to their neighbors, documenting them as they water their flowers, leave for the office, climb out of the car or other such daily pursuits. Like Paparazzi photos, their photos are characterized by their blurredness which comes from the fast and secretive way they work. They have to react quickly before a potential “victim” disappears again into the impenetrable — inside their four walls. On the Céte d’Azur during the Cannes film festival, G.R.A.M. operated as paparazzi and documented the colorful goings-on of the stars and passers-by. In the céte noire series the scenes are mixed. In a series of three photos, we see a man standing on a balcony as he lights up a cigarette. The second photo shows the same man leaning slightly over the railing adjusting his black sunglasses. In the third photo we see a woman with long dark hair who is preparing to leave the balcony. All the photos are taken with a telephoto lens and reproduce a situation which takes place far away from the observer. The way the people act clearly shows that they are not aware of being observed. Another series shows a man in casual, everyday clothes on the street, with a video cassette in his hand. In the same picture you see a woman approaching him. You cannot see the two actually meet, but in the following pictures there is only the woman whom you can only vaguely recognize. Does the video cassette have a particular meaning? Is this a “handover”? Another work shows a topless woman on the beach. Who is she? Is she a star or an









unknown? The camera lens alone makes her an “object of desire,” bestows upon her the

fifteen minutes of fame that Andy Warhol prophesied for all. ;


1998, photographs,


By formally adopting the paparazzi aesthetic, the mechanism which constructs the See

Céte Noir


Courtesy Galerie &

Edition Artelier, Graz

private and the public in media terms is exposed for what it is. “The so-called fundamental difference between private and public life is so mendacious that even exegetes are not able to define this clearly. In fact it expresses nothing more than two definitions which are related to the same phenomenon but at the|same time separate from it: Life, which has become a commodity, distinguished by its dquble aspect of its user value and its exchange value.”* Especially the paparazzi aestheti with its blurry 1focus, impreciseness and itht-das-Proletariat als Thema und Darst Nung in: £.4a.m. céte noire, Villa Arson, Nice large grain arouses a feeling in theviewer th: it must be authentic. In to day’s: media wo orld we are so familiar with these pictures that we |instantly start to suspect a story behind them. Who can the people in the picture be? What|do they appear to be doing? Our own imagination is set into action by these pictures. Harmless happenings become stories of “sex and crime.” Unknown passers-by become potential stars or criminals. The photographs have an openness which allows you to project your own thoughts into them. You could say they form a sort of vacuum. The photos bear witness to the desire to observe. G.R.A.M.’s pictures display something between surveillance as a threat and as a desire for exhibitionism. In reality TV shows, the most intimate problems are paraded before a large unknown public. “The proliferation — of video means that we can all be ‘on film’, just like our cherished cultural icons of television and the cinema.” We are not only being observed but called upon to observe others.cid aie hel

Translated from German by Jeremy Gaines

Bentham’s Panopticon of the visibility of everyone and the invisibility and potential presence of someone surveying us has given way to the existence of many surveillers. Everyone is both the observer and observed at the same time. “With the contemporary blurring of boundaries between notions of ‘public’ and ‘private’, between ‘real’ freedom and its simulation, it is easy to see how ‘democracy’ could become little more than a media illusion on the postmodern landscape.”° Is there still a difference between private and public life? If there is, the difference which is left appears to have become redundant.


p. 26.



Sabine Himmelsbach

| 507

G.R.A.M. __ Cote Noire

Céte Noir 1998, series a 3 photographs, blackand-white, 16 x 24” Courtesy Galerie & Edition Artelier, Graz


508 |






Céte Noir 1998, series a 3 photographs, blackand-white, 16 x 24” Courtesy Galerie & Edition Artelier, Graz

| 509

Niels Bonde | never had hair on my body or head 1995/2001, installation, three parts stuffed toy animals, cactus, table, CCTV cameras and monitors, dimensions variable

The phenomenon of social control mechanisms is a key theme for the Danish artist Niels Bonde. Sometimes used as a neutral subject, he examines symptoms of social control and its effects on the individual, probes the boundaries between voyeurism, narcissism,

authority, and power, and invites viewers to take a critical look at associated questions. The installation I never had hair on my body or head consists of the minimum needed to refer to a domicile, furnished with a table, chairs, a child’s bed and a poted plant. In the bed there are soft toys, teddy bears, objects familiar to us from children’s rooms. However, these seemingly harmless toys have small surveillance cameras implanted in their furry bodies by the artist. For instance, the camera lens replaces one bear’s left eye, and with others it grows out of their foreheads. The toys seem to stare at us with their manipulated heads. The toys become suspicious puppets, the innocence of mere objects yields to the implementation of power. A cactus with a tiny camera implanted in it is even droller. The whole arrangement becomes a laboratory whose secret mission is obvious, even though the technology is hidden. On the other side of the room stands the table, covered with several tablecloths as if a child had made itself a cave. Under the table there are several small monitors showing the interior of the imaginary room and the people moving around in it. The realtime transmission of the images filmed by the soft toys and the plant can be watched directly on the 1 never had hair on my body or head 1995/2001, detail Niels Bonde Installation view ZKM | Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe 2001

[right] | never had hair on my body or head 1995/2001, detail Niels Bonde Installation view ZKM | Center for Art and ‘Media, Karlsruhe 2001







aes iaSTEAGEIRN < f ¥ 3


| never had hair on my body or head

1995/1997, installation, detail: stuffed toy animals Niels Bonde, courtesy Galerie Asbaek, Kopenhagen, and Leo Konig Inc., New York Installation view Massachusetts Institut for Technology (MIT) 1997 1 never had hair on my body or head 1995, manipulated photograph

Niels Bonde, courtesy Galerie Voges + Deisen, Frankfurt/M.

monitors in the cave. Bonde’s construction of a typical surveillance system conveys the ambivalent feeling of being at once threatened and safe. Hiding cameras in everyday objects embodies the attempt to carry out surveillance in a subtle manner. Are these Orwellian utopias of total control? The home, the last refuge of the undisturbed private sphere, becomes an experimental field of interests wanting to penetrate the intimate sphere of the individual. In most cultures, the home has a protective function that could almost be called sacred; unwanted intrusions are seen as trespass. We are not safe from the gaze of strangers in the street or public squares, but in our own homes, preservation of privacy is the supreme law. Niels Bonde attacks this law with his surveillance system within one’s “own four walls.” Bonde reacts to the threat to the private sphere posed by the implementation of surveillance technology by presenting a symbiosis of innocence and moral authority, by manipulating things that represent our familiar surroundings and turning them into threatening tentacles of invisible authorities. The fact that these are soft toys in a child’s bed can be understood as a direct commentary. However, it would rather seem to be a metaphor for the way things that are too familiar can become invisible enemies. It remains uncertain who is watching and supervising whom, who installed the cameras, and who looks at the pictures. Is it the parents watching their children or the babysitter? Is it invisible agents acting for political or burocratic interests? Or is it young Dorian Grays looking for attention and desire, who feed their own pictures directly into the internet, seduced by the media’s promise of fame? Is it a question of the power of authoritarian control, of moral pressure or of exhibitionism in the sitting room? Just as the boundaries between the private and the public sphere become blurred in Bonde’s installation, those between the perspectives of subject and object also appear indistinct in








| never had hair on my body or head 1995/2000, installation, detail Niels Bonde, courtesy Galerie Asbaek, Kopenhagen, and Leo Konig Inc., New York Installation view Duende, Rotterdam 2000

! never had hair on my body or head 1995/1997, detail Niels Bonde, courtesy Galerie Asbaek, Kopenhagen, and Leo Konig Inc., New York Installation view Massachusetts Institut for Technology (MIT) 1997

the context of surveillance. Connotations related to the voyeurism and exhibitionism of the webcam idiocy that reaches new heights of excess in TV shows like Big Brother are associations just as logical as those of a totalitarian surveillance state and its perfidious culture of informants. The installation’s title is meant to be a commentary on the paranoia about surveillance which Bonde deals with in his works. I never had hair on my body or head is a quote taken by the artist from the psychiatric ec re issued by a Copenhagen clinic. The doctors there assessed the peychological state of their patients using the “yes” or “no”

I never had hair on my body or head 1995/2001, detail: Tent/Cave Niels Bonde, courtesy Galerie Asbaek, Kopenhagen, and Leo Konig Inc., New York Installation view ZKM | Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe 2001

answers to these irrational statements." Jennifer


f Detection:


Bonde’s work does not take ‘the aesthe cization of voyeurism vo as its theme, but the

obsession with this phenomenon: surveillance paranoia. Since the 1990s, Niels Bonde has made a name mostly with installation and media art. In Big Brother Blueprint, for the Buenos Aires Biennial Festival 2001, for example, he deals with the large-scale mediatization of the private sphere under sutveillance by drawing the floor plan of the Big Brother TV house on the walls and adding quptes from Karl Marx to Foucault dealing with the topic of social control. In a preceding work, The Conversation, he invites the visitors to sit down in a sort of cupboard, in which he has collected childhood memories of games involving pursuit. Here, he uses his own adolescent experiences of insecurity and humiliation caused by forms of social control. In the Take Away project of 2000, he, along with other artists, photocopied his diary, and distributed the copies as reading material on the local public transport. Bonde used what was probably the most excessive form of exhibitionism for his CCTV installation of the millennium party put on by Josh Harris in a New York loft. The party, which could almost be called an orgy, lasted for a whole week and was attended by around 50 invited guests. For the installation Wet Dream, Bonde’s contribution to the exhibition Quiet, around 90 cameras transmitted live pictures from the party loft to the Leo Koenig Inc. Gallery, the organizer of the exhibition. Details from this work also found their way into the Big-Brother version of Josh Harris’s WeLiveln Public.com made shortly afterwards. The work of Niels Bonde reflects the process of habituation and suspicion, of self-interest and discomfort, while dealing with forms of social control. Anke Hoffmann

| 513

Ann-Sofi Sidén __ Station 10 and Back Again 2001, installation, 18-channel DVD, mixed media, 118 x 82 x 18°

The work Station 10 and Back Again provides an insight into the daily routine, the life, and working tempo of a fire station in Norrképing, Sweden. On eighteen monitors we follow the comings and goings of the firefighters (the firemen and one firewoman) whom Sidén accompanied for weeks as they went about their lives. She has condensed and arranged the mass of material to fill eighteen DVDs. Eighteen surveillance monitors relate what happens ina fire station. Arranged in pairs or singly on metal shelves, the monitors are complemented by a series of everyday items associated with this professional group. The items and objects firefighters use on a daily basis — hoses, helmets, cordoning-off tape, flashing lights, sirens, canisters, lamps, and boots underscore the documentary character of the work. They attest to the recordings having been made in original surroundings; lend the work authenticity. Water hoses are neatly rolled up on the shelf, lie ready for a possible emergency call. Firefighter's helmets and boots are tidied away; still showing clear traces of their earlier use. And amongst all these items are the images on eighteen surveillance monitors, observing the response and common rooms of the fire station in Norrk6ping. A surveillance camera is installed in almost every room of the fire station. Some shots are fixed, some make a pan through the room. We see response headquarters, the garage with the fire engines, the offices, the corridors, and common rooms. We become witnesses of the course of events in a fire station, we observe the firefighters going about their daily tasks, getting ready for a mission, taking a shower, talking easily with colleagues, cooking together, making their beds, or having their evening meal in the common room. Sometimes you see hectic movement, swift responses prior to a mission, other times you see Station 10 and Back Again 2001, installation, 18-channel DVD, mixed media, 118 x 82 x 18” Norrképings Konstmuseum, Sweden

Station 10 and Back Again 2001, installation, 18-channel DVD, mixed media, 118 x 82 x 18”

Norrképings Konstmuseum, Sweden

514 |


Station 10 and Back Again 2001, installation, 18-channel DVD,

mixed media, 118 x 82 x 18” Norrképings Konstmuseum, Sweden


Ann-Sofi Sidén __ Station 10 and Back Again

only empty corridors and empty rooms in which nothing happens. We are initiated into the everyday life of a professional group whose actions are familiar to us only through their responses to fires and other emergencies. But you do not see that action here. Such missions are the exception; hours and hours of waiting and passivity separates one from the next. We observe the moments that the public is not normally privy to, namely the

time between emergency runs. There is no consistent course of events, no narrative structure. It is only the drifting from room to room, through the succession of rooms in the fire station that an overall picture emerges. Eighteen monitors offer a wealth of information, a stimulus satiation for the perceiving eye. Sidén presents the images of fire stations without any commentary.




3 _ The title is taken from


Her artistic intervention is evident only in her subjective selection from the host of material available. Documentary reporting is replaced by the “live images” that confront us with life itself. Of course, what we see are recordings, but the effect surveillance cameras produce creates the impression of being actually present. “Video surveillance functions as a code signifying reality. But precisely because these are pr events, we are cut off from the reality we expect to see on video surveillance screens.” “Though thereis no drama to‘speak of,‘theaesthetics of the surveillance cameras leads us to continue observing as a voyeur in the hope of seeing an extraordinary event, maybe in the very next minute. Surveillance also means spending hour upon hour waiting for the decisive moment. Most of the time nothing happens, and that is exactly what AnnSofi Sidén shows. The profession of firefighter is ideally suited to providing a cliché-like base for daring rescue operations, nerve-wracking tension, and hero-like behavior in extreme situations in action movies. The everyday tedium with which Station 10 and Back Again confronts us breaks apart this pcre The observation of life becomes a replacement for life itself. Sidén has been using surveillance aul in her work for some time, beginning with Prop for World Picture II (1996). She used the camera of a greengrocer’s store in Harlem, New York, and edited the filmed material on|a monitor in the installation. In Who told the Chambermaid? (1998), a work with a similar concept to Station 10 and Back Again, a large number of surveillance cameras, arranged on a shelf and combined with the typical requisites of everyday life in a hotel — towels, cleaning agents, bedding — shows the comings and goings in a hotel. We cast a glance into occupied rooms, observe a man and a naked woman playing chess, see another couple talking, a man getting dressed in front of a wardrobe mirror, a woman in the process of undressing. We also see the public parts of the hotel under surveillance, the lobby, the kitchen etc. This is evidently documentary material, the hotel occupants were asked for their cooperation prior to the recordings. “Thus the video surveillance, featured in an installation, monitors nothing and is merely an imitation of itself which both effects and designates the act of intrusion.”* In Wait a moment! she uses the video camera to accompany the life of prostitutes in Motel Hubert in Dubi (Czech Republic), close to the German border, where prostitution has become an important source of income. Her works break through the division between private and public, they trace and bring to light things seemingly hidden and private. In the work Would a Course of Deprol Have Saved Van Gogh’ S Ear? Sidén assembles masses ofadvertising material for psychedelic advert ‘drugs ‘that she discovered amongst ‘the effects of a deceased New York psychiatrist. Her work casts a light onto emotional states of mind. Sabine Himmelsbach

516 |



Days Inn 1998, DVD-installation in five rooms, dimensions variable

Reality TV Lounge TV Lounge Installation views ZKM | Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe 2001












Das wahre Leben 1994, TV series, Germany

In the wake of the enormous success of the MTV docu-soap The Real World which had been airing on MTV since its debut in 1992, the upstart pay-TV channel Premiere decided to produce a knockoff for the German market in conjunction with the producers of the American show. From May to August 1994 several camera teams followed “the real lives” of seven hip twenty-year-olds, all complete strangers to each other, who moved into a shared loft in Berlin-Mitte. In what was promoted as the first documentation of daily life on German TV, the butcher and model Ralph, the stylist Ute, the queer journalist Adriano, the radio DJ Eric, the female fire-fighter Tanja, the student Gregor and the bartender and singer Manou, negotiated the sociological experiment of their quotidian encounters under round-the-clock televisual surveillance. In the thiteen half-hour episodes broadcast in the Fall of 1994, the explosive dynamics of the confrontation with cultural difference in close quarters made for often tense televisual spectacle that provoked significant media attention but never really enjoyed the dramatic success of the very

Das wahre Leben 1994, videostills from the TV series, Germany Produced by Produktion Blau Medien GmbH, Hamburg Premiere Medien GMBH & CO. KG, Munich

similar Big Brother reality-soap years later. Hektor Holz


__ Big Brother 2000/2001, TV series, Italy, Spain, Poland, Belgium, and the Netherlands

The Big Brother rules are defined in this book: rules for behavior as well as informa‘ tion on what is allowed and what is forbidden. Big Brother reserves the right to order at any time that contestants breaking these rules leave the house.

For the entire Big Brother House the rule applies: no pieces of furniture may be moved. The furniture should not be damaged. On entering, you will find pillows and covers. The pillows are placed at the head of the beds. No change may be made to the position of the pillows at the head. That means, you are not permitted to move the pillows to the foot of the bed. Obligatory (is a) two-minute daily report jon your experiences (the producers will give all ro contestants this opportunity). If you are called into the Conference Room, please sit on the chair and simply begin to talk about Wwhat is passing through your mind. During these two minutes Big Brother will not enter into a dialog with you. When the two minutes have passed, Big Brother will ask|you to leave the Conference Room. Please leave then immediately.

Big Brother ensures that all basic items of every day life are available. Luxuries such as alcohol, candy or cigarettes must be brought with you or bought, after consultation with the other housemates, from the (very limited) house-keeping money. This means of course that this money is then missing for other things! Every evening Big Brother will place an envelope in the Conference Room. This envelope contains a piece of paper with a topic for discussion. After the envelope has been collected by one of the housemates, who then reads the contents aloud to the group, the contestants have to discuss the topic. The only place where you are alone and can lock the door behind you, is the Conference Room. Of course, there is a camera here too. Talks with the psychologists will not be filmed. For the sake of your own safety, you should in all events follow Big Brother’s instructions! Big Brother is your only contact to the outside world!








Excerpt from Der GroBe Bruder. Erstmals dokumentiert: Aus dem Geheimen Regelbuch fir die Mitwirkenden der EndemalProduktion “Big Brother”, in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 134, 10 June 2000, p. 41, The Article is a “reprint”

from the “secret rules” of Big Brother. The authenticity was, however, not approved. Translated from German

by June Klinger

Big Brother 2000/2001, videostills from the TV series, Italy, Spain, Poland, Belgium, and the Netherlands Endemol Entertainment International B.V.



__ Taxi Orange 2000, TV series, Austria

Almost as soon as the reality TV show Big Brother became a big hit in Germany, a similar show was launched by ORF, the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation. The show, Taxi Orange, featured twelve young people expected to live and work together for seventy-seven days. They were assigned the task of opening a taxi company, Kutscherhof. The plan was for them to make a living driving three orange taxis in shifts and to live off of the fares they had managed to earn each day. And like other reality shows, the end of the series held the promise of a coveted prize: one million schillings. Accordingly, every week ORF viewers voted for their favorite taxi driver, who was then summoned to the house, and awarded the privilege of designating which of the roommates would have to leav¢ — sometimes a difficult choice. In order to provide the audience with a view of what was going on in the taxis, the cars were equipped as traveling television studios. Cameras and microphones meant that taxi fares also became part of the surveillance game. It is “impossible to deny a certain tension with regard to the demands of human dignity. The various weekly finals in particular, draw their effect from the way they lay bare the different feelings displayed by the winners and the losers voted out of the Kutscherhof by the current week’s winner. These emotions are specially fabricated by the rules of the game; large close-ups dominate the picture ... One example demonstrating the show’s strange notion of where to draw the line in exceptional circumstances was Vicky’s disqualification. They did not show Vicky’s immediate reaction (her shock at Taxi Orange 2000, still from the TV series, Austria

Osterreichischer Rundfunk, Vienna








disqualification), but showed instead the utter dismay of her roommates. And it was not until the camera had wallowed in their consternation that the live streams were switched off, ostensibly to protect the private sphere of the individual. By switching off the live streams on occasion, ORF can pride itself on taking a sensitive approach to the emotions experienced by participants in extreme situations so that it does not encounter problems .




when, in other circumstances, it does show emotions.”

Taxi Orange 2000, stills from the TV series, Austria

Osterreichischer Rundfunk, Vienna

Translated from German

by Jeremy Gaines


1L _ Elisabeth Holzleithner, Big Brother, Taxi Orange und die Menschenwirde,

in Juridikum, 3, 2001, p. 116

Ulrike Havemann


__ We live in Public 2000/2001, 120-day experiment of alive and constant webcam-observation, www.weliveinpublic.com, Josh Harris


‘Siooaa reey






120 SBR


QO muir



We live in Public

Installation view ZKM | Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe 2001



Weliveinpublic.com was an internet-based surveillance experiment carried out by the “1: ¢ : : ets nia S millionaire Josh Harris, founder of Jupiter Communications and pseudo.com, and his girlfriend Tanya Corrin. Similar to the set up of television shows like Big Brother, every room of Josh Harris’ loft was kept under surveillance by thirty-two heat and motion-sensitive web cams and thirty microphones. The visitors of weliveinpublic.com could not only watch the couple’s everyday life, but also interact with Josh and Tanya through the weliveinpublic chat room: “We bought laptops with wireless Internet cards so we could tell who was watching by looking at the user names on the screen. We couldn't see them, but we could talk back via cameras and keyboards, giving us a flimsy sense of control.” Josh and Tanya planned to live in public for a hundred days but due to the immense psychological stress their relationship fell apart and after roughly sixty days Tanya left both





{02001 |




We live in Public 2000/2001, videostills from the 120-day experiment of a live and constant webcamobservation www.weliveinpublic.com

Josh Harris/Panopticon Inc., New York

the loft (and also left Josh, her boyfriend). “By day sixty, I had to get out. By day seventyeight, still unable to find an apartment, I chose couch surfing instead of remaining in a very public nightmare [...] Josh and I became celebrities albeit in our own little world. Visitors thought Josh was a genius. They thought I was cute. They wanted Josh to talk to them. They wanted to see me naked.”’ A short time after Tanya’s departure Josh also abandonned the project. Although the experiment certainly demonstrated thatthereisa large and ready audience thirsting for live exhibitionism, Josh and Tanya consider it as having been a traumatic personal experience.



Ulrike Havemann

| 525

CITIZEN CAM 2000, short film, Jéréme Scemla, 26 min

CITIZEN CAM 2000, videostills from the short film Jér6me Scemla,

Dominique Barneaud Kalamazoo, Canal+, SagaFilm, Paris Premiere, Sylicone




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really fascinates

it's a brilliant concept fora

This short film by Jéréme Scemla tells the story of an astonishing development in Iceland or, as the local protestors call it: Eyes-Land. In 1996, the police chief of Reykjavik decides to broadcast the live feeds from the police surveillance system’s 200 video cameras twenty-four hours a day on a designated local TV channel called HumaniTV. The continuous real-time surveillance soon becomes a huge success: housewives watch their husbands on the way to work, parents watch their children at the playground, citizens stage their daily lives for the camera, for acquaintances, neighbors, and friends. The consciousness of a constant “visibility” changes public behavior. Naturally, critique and protest also arise alongside the general enthusiasm for the panopticization of daily life. Scemla allows various voices to speak in his film: the police chief, the mayor, the clergy, citizens, proponents, and opponents of HumanilV. Indeed, he “documents” this extension of the logic of the reality-TV genre to daily life so compellingly, that it is not until one is told so at the very end that one realizes that this is, in fact, a “mock-umentary.” And that is just the point: this humorous science fiction not only could be, but in fact

might well be, true. Ulrike Havemann

| 527

Peter Cornwell face[value] : 2001, Nomex, PC/LCD hardware, 100baseT network, Linux/OpenGL — operating software, C/C++

application software, _ dimensions variable

_ Peter Cornwell





Bz a


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. ——






Steve Mann

__ “Reflectionism” and “Diffusionism” New Tactics for Deconstructing the Video Surveillance Superhighway

“Those who desire to give up Freedom in order to gain Security, will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.” Thomas Jefferson

“There is no place for the privacy factor when public safety is concerned.” John Fitzgerald, Supervisor, Transportation Operations, U.S. Postal Service, New York" 1 _ Mick

Safe and secure, but











at what price?

The perceived “success” of video cameras in Color Plate A No. 1 Steve Mann. A mid-1980s embodiment of Steve Mann’s WearComp4/WearCam4 invention, with recently updated antennae and camera with zoom lens. the signal processing and communications systems were sewn into the black jacket (1985). Additional computational capability was facilitated by the optional backpack-based computer. The computer screen took the form of a cathode-ray tube (CRT), facing downward into a beam splitter over the left eye. The beam splitter caused the information on the computer screen to appear overlaid on top of normal visual reality. The skull cap, made of copper, provided both safty with respect to the 2200 volts present on the CRT, as well as a ground plane for the two antennae situated thereon. The short antenna was a transmitter and the long antenna a receiver, to facilitate full-duplex,

first-person videoconferencing. The additorial antenna emanating from the backpack facilitated data and voice communications.

banks has led


rtment stores,

first at the cash register and then throughout the store, monitoring the general activities of Shoppers. “Success” there has led to govern-

ments using ubiquitous surveillance throughout entire cities to monitor the general activities of citizens.

(In Baltimore,


the downtown area, the government installed

200 cameras as part of an experiment’ that, 2 _ Michael Schneider, In Baltirr

, Big Brother

Moves In, in The Detro ee


Page, 20 January


if “successful,” would mean other cities would http://www.det

also be so equipped.) Businesses such as the Sheraton hotel have used hidden video cam-

e locker rooms, eras in their employe 3 _ LynNell Han

and the

Claudia Kalb, William Underhill, You Don’t

Have To Smite,

in Newsweek,

17 July 1995, p. 52

{ 531

Steve Mann __ “Reflectionism” and “Diffusionism”

use of hidden cameras by both businesses and governments is increasing dramatically. Other forms of visual surveillance and environmental intelligence also include the following: 1. Automatic face recognition: A computer system being installed at welfare offices will compare each applicant’s face to a database of thousands of other recipients’ faces ... exposing fraud faster and more efficiently than other methods such as fingerprinting ... Viisage Technology, in Acton, bought the rights ... and produced the fraud-detection system for the welfare department. Under its $112,500 state contract, Viisage will provide facialrecognition and fingerprinting services to welfare offices in Springfield and Lawrence as part of a six-month pilot program. a Meanw /Iwearcam.or

n Globe Sunc

ile, Privacy





30 June 1996.





calling for a ban on Computerised Face

oe ; arming



themselves with ink pads and on_CCTV.htmi emandi g that politicians and other officials submit to fingerprinting. 2. Television set top-boxes, designed for deployment in people’s homes, with built-in cameras that allow the cable-TV company, or-the like, to track the number of people watching, along with their identities (e.g. keep records of who is/has been watching what and when): Arbitron, Nielsen’s competitor in measuring television-viewing habits, asked him [Alexander Pentland, inventor of the automatic face recognition technology] to develop a “people meter” to recognize which family members were watching a show, so that the company would no longer have to depend on viewers’ diaries for demographic information.°

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