The Art of Detection: Surveillance in Society

1997, MIT List Visual Arts Center
Black book cover for The Art of Detection: Surveillance in Society featuring the exhibition title, artists, and dates written in the shape of a circle.
1997, MIT List Visual Arts Center

paper, 48 pages

The artists represented in this exhibition, Bill Beirne, Niels Bonde, Diller + Scofidio, Laura Kurgan, Richard Lowenberg, Steve Mann, and Julia Scher, insert their work within an ecology of surveillance data and images, disrupting the flow in order to draw attention to the ideological dimensions of the pressing desire within our culture to identify, show, quantify, and regulate. Their work at times replicates the more traditional forms of surveillance, such as video and photography; or alternatively, investigates the dematerialized forms of monitoring becoming increasingly prevalent which may map our movements, activities, associates, and lifestyles. The projects and installations reflect upon and problemmatize a function of contemporary life that has become so ubiquitous and familiar, yet still may prompt an inchoate sense of threat — to privacy, to democracy, to the individual. Paradoxically, the insertion of the technologies of surveillance into our daily lives may also offer subversive or socially efficacious potential that has not yet been recognized. With artists’ statements, b/w reproductions, essays by Timothy Druckrey and exhibition organizer Jennifer Riddell.