4D – Surveillance Art

Jill Magid – Evidence Locker


Magid chronicled a month spent in Liverpool, during which time she was in close communication with the operators of the citywide CCTV system. She carefully choreographed and edited actions in public places that were thereby initially filmed by the police cameras. Identifying herself by a bright red raincoat, she would call the police with her location and ask them to film her—in one case, going so far as to blindfold herself and ask the officers to guide her through the streets. “At 1 PM I called you, Can you see me? I am by the horse sculpture. ‘Are you wearing your red coat?’ Yes. ‘I got you…’” Eventually, she submitted a total of 31 official legal requests to retrieve each day’s footage and then composed them as dreamlike diary entries and candid love letters available by email subscription on the project’s microsite.

We are interested in the idea of surveillance and the exploration of the concept of “Big Brother”. The idea that Big Brother is always watching helps to generate interest that there is always a person watching you so you better behave.

While there are legal issues on Surveillance Art, it does prove the point on how people are more likely to behave when they think they are being watched.

The next inspiration I had is not really an artwork, but reality show, where they have a mini-game segment on “reading” or insulting. Our proposed object has the idea of giving out insults to participants. The ones on the receiving end however, area not taking themselves too seriously so all is good after a day of insults.

The Pre-Seminar Questions

Dialog by Zul Mahmod

Zul Mahmod creates and codes a timely sequence of solenoids hitting on copper pipes of different length and thickness to create a sound. Being a site specific installation, Zul confronts the audience in a long underground passageway towards the Esplanade. The audience is then confront on their midway journey by the sound they hear from the artworks while on a visual escapade with the visible artwork itself.

I feel that the work takes advantage of it’s site, where the potential audience are just transiting from a point to another, and using the sound to surprise the audience on their transit. While the intention of the artwork is very intriguing, and the visual aesthetics of the complex pipeline is pleasing, the artwork seems to be weak in perpetrating the audience to confront the artist’s intention between sight and sound.

Peace Can Be Realized Even Without Order – TeamLAB

The work is an interactive art during the Singapore Biennale 2013. The viewer is to enter a room where it is faced with multiple holograms of feudal Japanese musicians. The viewer’s movements would trigger the music by these holograms to stop and due to the capacity of viewers, it starts to trigger a cacophony. However, this chaos is soon harmonious after awhile should the viewer stay still or leave.

The work is abstracted from the Awa Dance Festival in Japan . It contextualised contemporarily by noting to help viewers feel that they are part of the installation and that they can feel peace without order. As in the festival, individual musicians would play in their own rhythm but subconsciously matches to other groups as they congregate in the town. Unfortunately, the work fails by perpetuating a set of rules to allow the artwork to reach consonance again.