[ISEA2011] Paper: Deborah Rachelle Burns – Subverting the Power Structure in the Surveillance Assemblage: Blue Sky


My paper explores the potential of digital media arts technology to disrupt and resist apparatuses of control in surveilled commercial spaces.  Networked technologies create electronic surveillance systems that are used to monitor and track people in commercial spaces.  Although the consumer culture in these spaces appears complicit with the potential power in the surveillance assemblage, the leveraging of digital media arts technologies offers opportunities for the subversion of the power structure in the digitally networked surveillance assemblage.

My paper identifies opportunities for changing consumer culture so that people can challenge the commercial spaces’ potential power in the electronic surveillance assemblage.  I offer examples of digital media art performances that operate in liminal places, moments of disruption, and sites of resistance. However, these opportunities are not bounded by the confines of commercial spaces. The strategies of resistance against power structures in electronic surveillance systems that I identify in my paper can be extended to other private and public spaces.

  • Deborah Rachelle Burns is a doctoral candidate (A.B.D.) in the Department of Educational Administration and Higher Education at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, USA.  She teaches education courses and is an academic advisor at Southern Illinois University.  She holds a M.A. in English Literature from Columbia University and a M.A. in Higher Education Administration from New York University.  Her research interests include media, higher education, and film studies.  Deborah’s research has been presented at several academic conferences including the 2009 and 2010 American Cultural Association/Popular Cultural Association (ACA/PCA) national conferences and the 2009 American Educational Studies Association (AESA) national conference.  Deborah was recently invited to present her research on media at the 2011 American Educational Studies Association (AESA) national conference.  She is also co-authoring a chapter in Fraggle Rock to Farscape:  Essays on the Worlds of Jim Henson forthcoming from McFarland in 2012.

Full text (PDF) p. 299-304 [somewhat different title]