[ISEA2011] Panel: Michelle Teran – Sur­veil­lant In­ter­ven­tions: From City Walks to Live Cin­ema

Panel Statement

Panel: Surveillant Spaces: From Autonomous Surveillance to Machine Voyeurism

In 2002, I ac­ci­den­tally in­ter­cepted video trans­mit­ting from a wire­less se­cu­rity cam­era that was not in­tended for my eyes. While view­ing live im­ages on a mon­i­tor being pro­duced by my own wire­less cam­era, I was sur­prised to see some­thing else ap­pear. Black and white, ghost-like ap­pari­tions, peo­ple in aprons, emerged in­ter­mit­tently from the white noise. After some scrutiny, I re­al­ized that the video was com­ing from a cam­era in­stalled in a restau­rant kitchen, two floors down. This chance dis­cov­ery led to a five year search for more hid­den im­ages, found by walk­ing and using a video re­ceiver to scan the streets of 17 dif­fer­ent cities. Whether in­tended or not, a per­son that uses a wire­less sur­veil­lance cam­era be­comes a broad­caster who trans­mits live video that is eas­ily in­ter­cep­ti­ble. These anony­mous and un­of­fi­cial broad­casts cre­ate an al­ter­nate view of the city and its in­hab­i­tants. Within this pre­sen­ta­tion, I will act as a guide through sur­veil­lant spaces formed by pri­vate use of CCTV and dis­cuss some of the ar­chi­tec­tural and per­for­ma­tive qual­i­ties that are in­her­ent within them. I will in­tro­duce sev­eral urban in­ter­ven­tions that piece to­gether un­seen sto­ries from the in­vis­i­ble media pre­sent in the city and per­form jux­ta­po­si­tions be­tween in­te­rior and ex­te­rior, phys­i­cal and me­di­ated, per­sonal and pub­lic spaces.

  • Michelle Teran (born in Canada) ex­plores the in­ter­ac­tion be­tween media and so­cial net­works in urban en­vi­ron­ments. In her work she looks at dif­fer­ent as­pects of how urban space is de­fined, oc­cu­pied and me­di­a­tized. She has a so­cial and site-spe­cific prac­tice which fo­cuses mostly on the stag­ing of urban in­ter­ven­tions and per­for­mances, such as guided tours, dis­cus­sions, walks and open-air pro­jec­tions as well as par­tic­i­pa­tory in­stal­la­tions and hap­pen­ings. She is the win­ner of the Trans­me­di­ale Award, the Turku2011 Grand Prix Award, the Vida 8.0 Award and Prix Ars Elec­tron­ica hon­orary men­tion (2005, 2010. Cur­rently she is within the post-grad­u­ate Nor­we­gian Artis­tic Re­search Fel­low­ship Pro­gramme where she is doing prac­tice-based re­search at the Bergen Na­tional Acad­emy of the Arts. She lives and works be­tween Bergen (N) and Berlin (DE).