Surveillant Architectures

Developing paradigms in media culture. This blog is collaboratively edited by the Surveillant Architectures Group.

Our seminar surveillance system provider wishes us all


Upcoming project: Experiments with automated video monitoring and semantic analysis

Just one example on what is possible, from


This is the technology behind ‘intelligent’ video. Leaving out the maths we’re left with some fascinating imagery. If you do want the math, the original PDF paper is available here.

Nils Zurawski im Interview (in German)

Ein Interview mit Nils Zurawski (Betreiber des Surveillant Studies Network, Hamburg) anlässlich der Ausstellung des Künstlers Alexander Steig im kunstraum muenchen.

Spricht unter anderem über ‘was ist CCTV’:

Collateral Murder


5th April 2010 10:44 EST WikiLeaks has released a classified US military video depicting the indiscriminate slaying of over a dozen people in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad — including two Reuters news staff.

Reuters has been trying to obtain the video through the Freedom of Information Act, without success since the time of the attack. The video, shot from an Apache helicopter gun-site, clearly shows the unprovoked slaying of a wounded Reuters employee and his rescuers. Two young children involved in the rescue were also seriously wounded.

Could be truthful: Moscow cameras streamed false pictures

Police have learned that CCTV cameras all across Moscow streamed prerecorded pictures, while the company servicing them received more than a million dollars in payments.
The company, StroyMontageService, has been accused of security fraud. Police have detained its director, Dmitry Kudryavtsev, who denies all charges saying the scandal is an attempt by his rivals to squeeze him out of the market.
The alleged fraud was uncovered during a routine check of Moscow CCTV cameras.
“From May to September 2009 CCTV cameras in several districts of Moscow streamed pre-recorded pictures instead of real-time video,” police spokeswoman Olga Dumalkina stated on Tuesday.

Coco Fusco at MC


Coco Fusco’s recent exhibit at MC, Los Angeles (2006) included the photographic series Bare Life Study #1, a fictional military interrogation training manual for women, an enigmatic presentation of real manuals on a desk, and in an adjoining room, the 59-minute video Operation Atropos. The show explored the weaponization of female sexuality by the US military that was exposed by the Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay prisoner abuse scandals.

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DICTIONARY OF WAR is a collaborative platform for creating 100 concepts on the issue of war, to be invented, arranged and presented by scientists, artists, theorists and activists at four public, two-day events in Frankfurt, Munich, Graz and Berlin. The aim is to create key concepts that either play a significant role in current discussions of war, have so far been neglected, or have yet to be created.

DICTIONARY OF WAR is about polemics in various respects: It seeks confrontation with a reality that is characterised by the concealment of power relations the more that one talks about war and peace. But it is also about finding out to what extent war may function as an “analyzer of power relations” that constitutes current changes.

Changes that have been producing ever new wordings: The new war, post-modern war, global war, immanent war – all sorts of labels that indicate that the juridical model of sovereignty would seem to have had its day: war as an armed confrontation between sovereign nation states is a thing of the past.

While this still refers to conflict between different interest groups that are defined by the degree of their intensity and extension, unlike in the past war serves to regulate rather than destroy or renew existing power relations.

War is a “constitutive form of a new order” that no longer knows an inside or outside, that not only destroys but also produces life. In this new world order there is no difference between war and non-war: war is perpetual and everywhere.

So like so many other things these days, war too seems to be subject to a de- and re-regulation process that radically challenges old certainties and replaces them with new premises that shall not be questioned. DICTIONARY OF WAR sets out to oppose war and, at the same time, calls for “desertion” from a war of words in which facts are created with such force in their communication and propaganda that they can no longer be challenged.

The aim of DICTIONARY OF WAR is to make the creation or revaluation of concepts transparent into more or less open processes in which we can and need to intervene; at the same time, the aim is to develop models that redefine the creation of concepts on the basis not of interdisciplinary but rather undisciplined, not co-operative but rather collaborative processes.

“At least, when we create concepts, we are doing something.” The idea of DICTIONARY OF WAR, then, begins by referring to the theory of creating concepts proposed by Deleuze and Guattari: Concepts must be invented, created, produced; concepts refer to problems without which they would be meaningless. It is not about definitions, anecdotes, original opinions or entertainment, but rather about developing the tools with which to attain new ideas.

The concepts are created by conceptual personae, who are not identical to the author, philosopher, artist self, but rather testify to a third person beneath or beside. According to Deleuze and Guattari, “we do not do something by saying it but produce movement by thinking it, through the intermediary of a conceptual persona”.

DICTIONARY OF WAR is not a book in the proper sense. It is not about texts, deadlines or editing but about performativity. The concepts are introduced in alphabetical order by their conceptual personae in twenty-minute presentations.

There are no restrictions with regard to format. DICTIONARY OF WAR will be composed of lectures, choreographies, films, slide shows, readings or whatever format authors, actors, organisers and conceptual personae choose to use.

Finally, DICTIONARY OF WAR may well be a kind of war machine itself: the concepts are not intended to be deployed as means of control that regulate meanings, but which rather activate developments and processes and evoke events. “To draw speech to oneself and bring something incomprehensible into the world.” (Kleist)

wenn Menschen vor die Wahl gestellt werden, ob sie sich für Etwas in den
Folgen Kalkulierbares, Überschaubares entscheiden sollen,
oder für etwas Unsicheres, Unabsehbares, dann neigt die Mehrzahl dazu,
sich für das Kalkulierbare, das Überschaubare zu entscheiden.
Sogar wenn absehbar ist, daß das Resultat mit Sicherheit niederträchtig
und miserabel sein wird.
Das Unkalkulierbare meiden die Meisten, sogar wenn etliche in Frage
kommenden Faktoren weitaus besser sind, als das sichere Schlechte……
Ich frage mich oft, was überwiegt: Der Fatalismus, die Dummheit oder die
gedankliche Bequemlichkeit…..

Da wagt es doch tatsächlich ein holländischer Journalist, der Merkel
eine “nicht vorgesehene” Frage bei der Pressekonferenz zu stellen,
was sich von den gekauften deutschen Journalisten keiner mehr traut…..
sehr delikat…….
Im erhaltenen Originaltext hieß es “und wir dummes Volk haben die auch
noch gewählt”
-da mußte ich einhaken- denn ich habe sie nicht gewählt und gehöre ja
auch zum (dummen) Volk….

Create your public intervention – action with Charlie Todd and Improv Everywhere

THU⁄FRI, July 9th and 10th 09

Improv Everywhere is known for their Performances in New York and their movies on You Tube. …
More under http:⁄⁄⁄.

If you want to partecipate to their mobile action in cologne please contact

Predictive Engineering online


Predictive Engineering is a multichannel video and audio installation by Julia Scher presented twice at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA, 1993 and 1998-99.

Stills documentating PE and PE2 on hand under