[ISEA2009] Panel: Pam Skelton (convener) – Conspiracy Dwellings: Surveillance in Contemporary Art

Panel Statement

Conspiracy Dwellings: Surveillance in Contemporary Art is a forthcoming collection published by Cambridge Scholars in 2010. The collection brings together the essays of theorists and art practitioners about artworks made in the midst of conflict or from the position of commentary and critique. With the focus on surveillance and its impact on urban space, architecture, and citizenship this collection of essays helps us to understand the times we live in through art practices that consider the practical and theoretical status of surveillance from a variety of positions. In topics that span the 70’s to the present day the authors feature work made by artists from South Africa, the Federal Republic of Germany, the former German Democratic Republic, Northern Ireland, Poland and the United Kingdom.

Many of the artists whose works are considered in this collection have addressed lived experience dealing with complex issues such as resistance, positionality, censorship, control and state power, civic liberties, human rights and torture. Whilst others have commented on surveillance cameras in the midst of our cities or digital software for radical civilian and military technologies that promises in the near future to revolutionise invasive surveillance techniques. In contrast to these new technological advances traditional methods of surveillance and control may at first glance seem to be outdated yet they still have currency in our societies and are dismissed at our peril. While surveillance is an accepted form of mass observation in the shopping mall or the railway stations, we may ask where do we draw the line and how far does surveillance have to go before it worries us, and at what point is the citizen considered a threat to the state?

  • Outi RemesAn Introduction to the Project
  • Liam KellySeeing You / Seeing Me: Art and the Disembodied Eye 
  • Robert Knifton, CCTV in Two Liverpool Artworks
  • Paula RoushFlat Screen, No Signal: Body and Location Under CCTV and the Pleasures of Webcamming
  • Pam Skelton (UK) – Konspirative Wohnungen / Conspiracy Dwellings (Full text (PDF) p. 22)