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Festival, Rijeka

Mine, Yours, Ours #11

Surveillance

 

Organized by Drugo more (HR), this year’s edition of Mine, Yours, Ours festival deals with surveillance as one of the most important issues of contemporary era. With its main function to eliminate deviation and steer the population in the direction of functional behavior – whatever functional behavior might mean – certain type of surveillance is present in every civilization. The one who surveils always takes the position of power, not just in a way of defining the boundaries of acceptable behavior, but also in a sense of concealing its own deviations. This is the reason why we don’t trust those who surveil, even if we accept their definition of what is acceptable.

On the other hand, people have always been capable of finding the space for deviation and subversive action, as well as the way for surveilling those who surveil them. Contemporary world hasn’t changed much in that sense, except the fact that we came closer to the organizational model of panoptic surveillance. Back in the 18th century, Jeremy Bentham designed the spatial image of that system: a circular building divided into cells, with a tower at its centre. Windows on the tower walls are facing the inner side of the circular building, whose cells have two windows – one set in the direction of the tower, the other looking outside, letting the light into each cell. Their occupants are thus backlit and their shadows can be observed from the tower. Constant visibility of the captives is Panopticon’s main effect, surveillance becoming incessant in its consequences, regardless of its actual implementation.

Bentham set up a basic principle that power has to be visible and unverifiable. Visible – captive always has the view of the tower he’s being observed from. Unverifiable – captive never knows if someone is actually watching him, but he surely knows it is always possible. When we apply this spatial image to the network, we get an outer window (email, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapshot, etc.) that illuminates us and enables the view of our cell to those watching from the tower (secret services, internet providers, Google, state agencies, etc.). Privacy is achieved by hanging curtains on the windows, and even though the state allowed us to use opaque curtains in order to hide ourselves from the tower, the demands to move them apart are getting louder every day. If we do it while still trying to keep our privacy, that means we need to hang the curtains on the window looking at the outer world so we could disable the penetration of light into the cell and thereby avoid the constant glance. This year’s theme is actually a simple question of the complex architecture of surveillance – how to make our cell obscure.

The festival consists of The Black Chamber exhibition – curated by The Influencers (ES), produced by Aksioma (SI) in partnership with Drugo More (HR) and hosted by Mali salon, Rijeka – series of lecture presentations, invisible ink workshop and a performance.

Credits, more information about this project and related events HERE

7 - 9 april 2015
Filodrammatica, Mali salon, OKC Palach

Featuring:

Annie Machon
Evan Roth
James Bridle
Tomislav Medak
Bani Brusadin
Amy Suo Wu
Nina Boelsums
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Jacob Appelbaum & Ai Weiwei
Zach Blas
Émilie Brout & Maxime Marion
Simon Denny
Jill Magid
Metahaven
Laura Poitras