Surveillant Architectures

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

Summer Term 2016


Poster by Steffi Glauber
thanks, Steffi, for another great poster!


Research paper: Mass Surveillance Silences Minority Opinions


Under Surveillance: Examining Facebook’s Spiral of Silence Effects in the Wake of NSA Internet Monitoring

Research paper by Elizabeth Stoycheff

Abstract: Since Edward Snowden exposed the National Security Agency’s use of controversial online surveillance programs in 2013, there has been widespread speculation about the potentially deleterious effects of online government monitoring. This study explores how perceptions and justification of surveillance practices may create a chilling effect on democratic discourse by stifling the expression of minority political views. Using a spiral of silence theoretical framework, knowing one is subject to surveillance and accepting such surveillance as necessary act as moderating agents in the relationship between one’s perceived climate of opinion and willingness to voice opinions online. Theoretical and normative implications are discussed.

In “Data and Goliath”, Bruce Schneier says the same (it’s in the library in both English and German, see our Semesterapparat):

Across the US, states are on the verge of reversing decades-old laws about homosexual relationships and marijuana use. If the old laws could have been perfectly enforced through surveillance, society would never have reached the point where the majority of citizens thought those things were okay. There has to be a period where they are still illegal yet increasingly tolerated, so that people can look around and say, “You know, that wasn’t so bad.” Yes, the process takes decades, but it’s a process that can’t happen without lawbreaking. Frank Zappa said something similar in 1971: “Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.”

The perfect enforcement that comes with ubiquitous government surveillance chills this process. We need imperfect security­ — systems that free people to try new things, much the way off-the-record brainstorming sessions loosen inhibitions and foster creativity. If we don’t have that, we can’t slowly move from a thing’s being illegal and not okay, to illegal and not sure, to illegal and probably okay, and finally to legal.

This is an important point. Freedoms we now take for granted were often at one time viewed as threatening or even criminal by the past power structure. Those changes might never have happened if the authorities had been able to achieve social control through surveillance.

This is one of the main reasons all of us should care about the emerging architecture of surveillance, even if we are not personally chilled by its existence. We suffer the effects because people around us will be less likely to proclaim new political or social ideas, or act out of the ordinary. If J. Edgar Hoover’s surveillance of Martin Luther King Jr. had been successful in silencing him, it would have affected far more people than King and his family.


guerrilla camera saturation installation @ Berliner U-Bahn


I suspect the actual black dome camera wasn’t actually being looked at when this was installed… should teach them something.

guerrilla camera saturation installation

http://www.berliner-zeitung.de/berlin/fahrgaeste-entdecken-kamera-aktion-gegen-ueberwachung-in-berliner-u-bahn-23748282?originalReferrer=&originalReferrer=https://fnord.khm.de


Big Other: The Secrets of Surveillance Capitalism


Shoshana Zuboff on how we became Google’s slaves. A must-read.

Big other: surveillance capitalism and the prospects of an information civilization Update: Joscha sent in a better link: The Secrets of Surveillance Capitalism

German translation: Überwachungskapitalismus

Nearly 70 years ago historian Karl Polanyi observed that the market economies of the 19th and 20th centuries depended upon three astonishing mental inventions that he called fictions. The first was that human life can be subordinated to market dynamics and be reborn as labor. Second, nature can be subordinated and reborn as real estate. Third, that exchange can be reborn as money. The very possibility of industrial capitalism depended upon the creation of these three critical fictional commodities. Life, nature, and exchange were transformed into things, that they might be profitably bought and sold. The commodity fiction, he wrote, disregarded the fact that leaving the fate of soil and people to the market would be tantamount to annihilating them.

With the new logic of accumulation that is surveillance capitalism, a fourth fictional commodity emerges as a dominant characteristic of market dynamics in the 21st century. Reality itself is undergoing the same kind of fictional meta-morphosis as did persons, nature, and exchange. Now reality is subjugated to commodification and monetization and reborn as behavior. Data about the behaviors of bodies, minds, and things take their place in a universal real-time dynamic index of smart objects within an in finite global domain of wired things. This new phenomenon produces the possibility of modifying the behaviors of persons and things for profit and control. In the logic of surveillance capitalism there are no individuals, only the world-spanning organism and all the tiniest elements within it.


Thinking about surveillance of our most intimate activities


Law Professor Karen Levy writes about the rise of surveillance in our most intimate activities — love, sex, romance — and how it affects those activities.

This article examines the rise of the surveillant paradigm within some of our most intimate relationships and behaviors — those relating to love, romance, and sexual activity — and considers what challenges this sort of data collection raises for privacy and the foundations of intimate life.

Data-gathering about intimate behavior was, not long ago, more commonly the purview of state public health authorities, which have routinely gathered personally identifiable information in the course of their efforts to (among other things) fight infectious disease. But new technical capabilities, social norms, and cultural frameworks are beginning to change the nature of intimate monitoring practices. Intimate surveillance is emerging and becoming normalized as primarily an interpersonal phenomenon, one in which all sorts of people engage, for all sorts of reasons. The goal is not top-down management of populations, but establishing knowledge about (and, ostensibly, concomitant control over) one’s own intimate relations and activities.

After briefly describing some scope conditions on this inquiry, I survey several types of monitoring technologies used across the “life course” of an intimate relationship — from dating to sex and romance, from fertility to fidelity, to abuse. I then examine the relationship between data collection, values, and privacy, and close with a few words about the uncertain role of law and policy in the sphere of intimate surveillance.

(via Bruce Schneier)


Art made for the darknet


Dark Content (2015)

http://0100101110101101.org/dark-content/

by Eva and Franco Mattes

A series of videos about internet content moderators: the extraordinarily significant, yet elusive, individuals who determine how much breast is too much breast for Instagram, or are tasked with scrubbing photos of Osama bin Laden from search engines.

New episodes are released periodically and only on the Darknet. To watch them download the Tor Browser and use it to go to http://5cqzpj5d6ljxqsj7.onion

eva-and-franco-mattes-darknet


Can you spot the suspicious behaviour in these photos?


Another good critique of the ideology behind CCTV: Esther Hovers’ series False Positives


Yes Men – Anti-terrorism “personal security” Hoax


This week, in the European Parliament in Brussels, a “defense and security consultant” from a group called “Global Security Response” presented a new kind of solution to terrorism. Showing in a very clever way how the military approach to terrorism is failing.

I love the look of those spheres.

Here’s the entire presentation including slides. Some photos and the press release. More photos. The fake company website.

 


Guest lecture: Nils Zurawski


“The omnipresent gaze? Surveillance between visibility and the management of norms.”

Guest lecture by Dr. Nils Zurawski
Institut für kriminologische Sozialforschung at Uni Hamburg,
founder of the Surveillance Studies network
www.surveillance-studies.org

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Surveillant Architectures Group
room 2, Filzengraben 2a
KHM Cologne

Upcoming conference in Barcelona: http://www.surveillance-studies.net/?p=1162


Women under Surveillance Symposium


Please scroll down for English version

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

http://wus.khm.de

 

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

Women_under_Surveillance_invite