[ISEA98] Panel: John E. McGrath – After Privacy: Surveillance, Sexuality and the Electronic Self

Panel Statement

Panel: Bio-Architectures, Virtual Cities: The Revolutionary Human-Machine Community

This paper explores the sexual reconfiguring of self and space which is underway in a society of surveillance. Focussing on our desire for surveillance technology, This paper will suggest that surveillance society has less to do with crime prevention and more to do with erotics than we are led to believe. McGrath will investigate bodies which are already re-imagining themselves as organisms which incorporate the camera, the microphone and even the database, sexualising surveillance’s temporal and spatial disruptions. Material will include the example of gay gogo dancers in New York who perform for hidden cameras, analysis of the structural similarities between CCTV crime footage and hard core pornography, and an examination of the British media response to the film Crash in relation to the phenomenon of speed cameras.
I will develop the argument that new kinds of spaces are being created under surveillance, spaces inhabited by prostheticised selves which are bursting through the binaries of public/private, live/recorded, body/technology. These surveillance spaces and electronic selves are performative, radically unstable and potentially revolutionary.

  • John E. McGrath (USA/UK),¬†Experimental Theatre Director