Surveillant Architectures

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

Women under Surveillance Symposium

Please scroll down for English version

2. & 3. Dezember 2015
Kunsthochschule für Medien Köln
Filzengraben 2, 50676 Köln


Das zweitägige Symposium Women under Surveillance tritt vermeintlich neutralen Definitionen von Überwachung entgegen. Es führt einen künstlerischen und interdisziplinären Dialog über Überwachung im Digitalzeitalter. Dieses Bezugsfeld wird dabei mit einem besonderen Fokus auf dessen Bedeutung für Frauen diskutiert.

Das Symposium bringt Vorträge, Performances, Installationen und Filmscreenings zusammen, die sich mit Themen wie Datensammlung oder Kontrollobsessionen im Namen der Sicherheit auseinandersetzen.

Ziel ist die reine Diskussion, ob exzessive Überwachung notwendig und zielführend ist angesichts einer zunehmend unsichereren Welt, hinter sich zu lassen und stattdessen anhand geschlechtsspezifischer historischer Überwachungskomplexe, wie beispielsweise der Regulierung der Autonomie der Fortpflanzung und der Sexualität, die Frage zu stellen, wer von wem beobachtet wird, wie, warum und zu welchen Kosten?


Konzeption und Organisation: Prof. Julia Scher, Christian Sievers, Dieuwke Boersma und die Surveillant Architectures Group an der Kunsthochschule für Medien Köln. Filmprogramm kuratiert von Christa Pfafferott. Design von Stephanie Glauber.

Im Rahmen des Symposiums präsentiert GLASMOOG – Raum für Kunst & Diskurs an der Kunsthochschule für Medien Köln „Tektite Revisited“, ein Ausstellungs- und Filmprojekt der Filmemacherin Meghan O’Hara und des Kunsthistorikers James Merle Thomas.


Referenten / Performer:
bankleer (KünstlerInnengruppe, Berlin)
chicks on speed (KünstlerInnengruppe, Köln/Hamburg)
Sophie Maintigneux (Bildgestalterin, Professorin für Bildgestaltung, KHM)
Karin Michalski (Vertretungsprofessorin für Kunst- und Medienwissenschaften/Gender, KHM)
Lívia Nolasco-Rozsas (Kuratorin, ZKM Karlsruhe)
Meghan O’Hara (Filmemacherin, California State University, Monterey Bay, Seaside, CA) & James Merle Thomas (Kunsthistoriker und Kurator, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA)
Christa Pfafferott (Autorin und Regisseurin, Hamburg)
Angela Richter (Regisseurin, Schauspiel Köln)
Katrin Schlösser (Filmproduzentin, Professorin für kreative Film- und Fernsehproduktion, KHM)
Dirk Schulz (GeStiK – Gender Studies, Universität zu Köln)
Mark von Schlegell (Autor und Kulturtheoretiker, Köln)
Mi You (Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin, Kunst- und Medienwissenschaften, KHM)
und Studierende der KHM




The two-day symposium Women under Surveillance counters neutral definitions of surveillance to establish a platform for artistic and interdisciplinary dialogue along the lines of women and surveillance in our digital age.

Lectures, performances, installations and film screenings go deeper into the critical means of collecting data and monitoring processes in the name of security and the general interest of the “public”.

The symposium aims to move beyond the discussion whether excessive surveillance is a necessary and productive practice in an increasingly insecure world.

Rather, in taking the gendered history of surveillance strategies as its starting point—such as the regulation of women’s productive autonomy and sexuality—the symposium engages artistically and critically with questions as: “Who is being watched by whom, how, why and at what expense?”


Konzeption und Organisation: Prof. Julia Scher, Christian Sievers, Dieuwke Boersma and the Surveillant Architectures Group at Academy of Media Arts Cologne. Filmprogram curated by Christa Pfafferott. Design by Stephanie Glauber.

As part of the symposium, GLASMOOG – Raum für Kunst & Diskurs at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne presents “Tektite Revisited”– an exhibition and film project by filmmaker Meghan O’Hara and art historian James Merle Thomas.


Speakers & Performers:
bankleer (artist group, Berlin)
chicks on speed (artist group, Cologne/Hamburg)
Karin Michalski (professor for art and media studies/gender, KHM)
Lívia Nolasco-Rozsas (curator, ZKM Karlsruhe)
Meghan O’Hara (filmmaker, California State University, Monterey Bay, Seaside, CA)
& James Merle Thomas (art historian and curator, University of Southern California,
Los Angeles, CA)
Sophie Maintigneux (cinematographer, professor for artistic cinematography, KHM)
Christa Pfafferott (author and film director, Hamburg)
Angela Richter (director, Schauspiel Köln)
Katrin Schlösser (film producer, professor for creative film and TV production, KHM)
Dirk Schulz (GeStiK – Gender Studies in Cologne, University of Cologne)
Mark von Schlegell (author and theorist, Cologne)
Mi You (assistant researcher, art and media studies, KHM)
and students of the KHM


NOW & NEXT @ tanzhaus nrw

NOW & NEXT @ tanzhaus nrw

mit Arbeiten von Reut Shemesh, Kenny Rüdiger & Paloma Thorausch, Sandeep Mehta, Kingsley Odiaka, Damian Weber und Sagi Gross

Willenskraft – Damian Weber 2011

call for proposals for Sigint Conference artworks

Dear all,

as mentioned a couple of weeks ago, you have the chance to show some artworks at the SIGINT 2012. The SIGINT is a huge conference of the Chaos Computer Club, which will take place in May 18th-20th in Mediapark, Köln.
More info here:

I had a meeting with my friend who helps organizing the event and had a look at the possible exhibition space. The idea was spreading artworks all over the place… Here are some pictures I took, so you get an idea.
The CCC has rented 2 buildings, in one building there will be mostly lectures, in the other there will be hackers sitting around, doing crazy things. If you are interested in showing a piece and getting in touch with them, please send me an email with your proposal until April 15th!

See you soon :-)

resenka {AT}

UPDATE: there’s a sneak preview of talks & lectures online now



Required reading for the seminar:

The catalogue for the 2001 ZKM exhibition CTRL [SPACE]  – Rhetorics of Surveillance from Bentham to Big Brother.

It’s in the Semesterapparat in the library, also Christian has a copy that you can come and borrow (if you promise to treat it well). Plus the artist’s pages are still online at (English) or (deutsch).

We suggest you should go and have a look at the essays, only available in the printed version. There is an interesting (German-only) interview with the curator Thomas Y. Levin here.

KHM-Beiträge beim Weather Tunnel Project, Peking

Susanna Schönbergs ‘Blind Spots’ und anderes beim Weather Tunnel Project, Peking

Amidst the global challenges of climate and ecological crises that threaten the very existence of humanity, the exhibition TransLife reflects on the whereabouts of humankind in relationship to nature through an unique perspective and philosophical speculation, calling for citizen participation in facing these imminent challenges with artistic imagination to advocate a new world view of nature and a retooled humanist proposition.

My projection objects Blind Spots are part of the exhibition section Weather Tunnel. Produced with the support of KHM Academy of Media Arts Cologne, the Blind Spots are designed as closed entities for (environmental) data visualization. The data are provided in real time by the Beijing Weather Tunnel sensors’ node developed by Parsons The New School for Design, School of Art, Media and Technology.


How To Do Things With Words

An Exhibition of Radical Speech Acts
October 30–November 9, 2010

Opening Reception: 
November 1, 2010, 6:00 – 8:00 pm

Arnold and Sheila Aronson Galleries
The Sheila C. Johnson Design Center
Parsons The New School for Design

how to do things with words

The exhibition presents the work of fifteen artists and collectives who explore the relationship between language and power, media, action, and socio-political context through gallery works, talks, workshops and performances. The exhibition takes its name from the title of a groundbreaking treatise by British philosopher J.L. Austin, who eloquently presented the concept of speech acts. He disavowed the notion of language as something passive that simply describes reality, but rather described it as a set of practices that can be used to affect and create realities. Austin’s premise is that speaking itself contains the power of doing.

Participating artists include Melanie Crean; Azin Feizabadi and Kaya Behkalam; Andrea Geyerand Sharon Hayes; Yael Kanarek; Carlos Motta; Martha Rosler; the Iraqi/U.S. Cross Wire Collective; Mark Tribe; and The Yes Men. Artists presenting talks and performances include Wafaa Bilal; Feizabadi; Kanarek; Huong Ngo and Hong-An Truong; Tribe; and Mary Walling Blackburn.

Several pieces in the show relate speech to the urgency of the political process during an election season. Carlos Motta’s Six Acts: An Experiment in Narrative Justice (2010) reenacts a series of speeches concerning the concept of peace, originally delivered by six liberal Colombian presidential candidates from the last century who were assassinated because of their ideology. Performed by actors in public squares in Bogota during the last presidential campaign, the work emphasizes the transformative potential of fiction as a tool of reparative collective memory. Azin Feizabadi’s The Epic of the Lovers: God, Mafia and the Citizens (2009) muses on the disparity between individual and collective desire for change during Iran’s Green movement, written and photographed by the artist as he participated in the protests in Tehran. Melanie Crean’s The Anonymous Archives (2008-10), is an online archive of interviews that document the rapid shifts in Iraqi and American desire for pol itical change during the period of US military divestment, beginning before the 2008 election of President Obama, and finishing just after the current US mid-term elections.

Exhibition: Nobody’s Property: Art, Land, Space, 2000-2010

Nobody’s Property: Art, Land, Space, 2000-2010
October 23, 2010-February 20, 2011

Over the last ten years, “land” and “space” have become pressing subjects for artistic investigation, so much so that we can now speak of a new generation of environmental artists.  Nobody’s Property will explore this development and probe the reasons for its appearance at the beginning of the twenty-first century.  The exhibition features the work of seven artists and two artist-teams: Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla, Francis Alÿs, Yael Bartana, Andrea Geyer, Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, Emre Hüner, Matthew Day Jackson, Lucy Raven, and Santiago Sierra.  Using media that range from video and photography to digital animation, performance, and assemblage, these artists parse the economic, geopolitical, and phantasmatic conditions of land and space.  Their methods are as varied as their media, but they tend to coalesce around one of four approaches: the investigatory, the parafictional, the interrogative, and the interruptive.  While some of the artists in the exhibition explore historical configurations of space, gauging its symbolic import for specific actors at specific moments in time, others consider concrete land-sites—sites, that is, with a particular geographical correlate.  Among these land-sites are the cities of Jerusalem and Beirut, the island of Vieques, the border town of Juarez, the Navajo Nation, and the industrial center of Tongling.  Each one crystallizes a larger debate around issues such as war, globalization, cultural patrimony, civil rights, and national sovereignty.

A Reasonable Man in a Box : Jill Magid @ at Whitney NYC

In her first solo exhibition in an American museum, Jill Magid (b. 1973) continues to explore means of penetrating closed systems of power. Taking institutional structures, rules, laws, and language as her media, Magid has developed a conceptually rigorous, largely performance-based practice in which she seeks to engage institutions of power on a personal, intimate level. Developed for the Whitney Museum’s first-floor Anne & Joel Ehrenkranz Gallery, Magid’s A Reasonable Man in a Box takes its point of departure from the “Bybee Memo,” a controversial 2002 document signed by Jay Bybee, Assistant Attorney General of the United States Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel, and declassified by President Obama in 2009. The document discusses acceptable methods of “enhanced interrogation” of a high-level Al Qaeda operative, including the use of a confinement box. As Whitney curatorial assistant Nicole Cosgrove writes in the introductory text, “A Reasonable Man in a Box explores the perversion of reason, and the malleability of language and law. Using video, collage, and text, Magid transforms an international and political issue into a physical and intensely personal experience. The installation represents an artist’s desire to engage a legal memo—and her government—in dialogue, and to unlock a closed system of legal language with a single rhetorical question.”

Jill Magid: A Reasonable Man in a Box is organized by Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Curator Chrissie Iles.

re-active platform @ glasmoog

re-active platform
Ralf Baecker, Artur Holling, Karin Lingnau, JiHyun Park, mit Luis Negrón van Grieken, Susanna Schoenberg
March 20 to April 14, 2010
Academy of Media Arts Cologne
Filzengraben 2a, Cologne, germany

re-active platform

re-active platform is about the logic and aesthetics of systems; circuits, signals and displays are represented as objects, images and sites, while the Phänomene des Realen [phenomena of the real] seem to be nothing more than just mere coincidence.
re-active platform, initiated by Susanna Schoenberg in 2004, embodies concepts, works, tests and exchange between students and other art and technology competencies that temporarily and repeatedly turned into site and condition themselves.

re-active platform began 2004 as seminar formula at the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne; it was part of the research&teaching field called multimedia&performance; it was supposed to be as >technical< as possible and to be in the local vanguard of application of and
experimentation with new technologies [expanded media, intermedia..] or pieces of them.
So re-active platform started as a label for a production oriented environment [the platform as a place] where persons with very different background issues, interests, skills, and positions in the creative process [the platform as a collaborative pool], were and still are asked to reflect together about art works acting [re-acting] like >systems<.
With a kind of regular incidence re-active platform got visible as a concept and as a variable group in seminar activities, workshops, group exhibitions, field works.

The main task consists in reflecting the idea of re-activity on a very abstract level, not referring to much to individual preferences of the artists for their usual shapes of production.
The first entities discussed as metaphors were circuits and data-streamings as accessible phenomena.
The results is a collaborative produced ensemble of artefacts not produced for being unique, but for being part of a [variable] discourse.

Rivane Neuenschwander: A Brazilian Makes Playful but Serious Art


At the New Museum last Friday the artist Rivane Neuenschwander was on her knees, slicing up the carpeting in a third-floor gallery as she searched energetically for microphones hidden in the floorboards and walls. A security and surveillance team had secreted the bugs there at her request, but without her knowing their locations; now the devices were recording her hunt in the otherwise silent room, in preparation for a fast-approaching show.

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