Under surveillance

Watch the video here… I went to see the ‘Loitering With Intent’ exhibition at The People’s History Museum in Manchester – it includes my piece about CCTV surveillance, which is called ‘You Have Been Watching…‘

It’s usual to make a record of a piece on situ when it’s exhibited, partly for vanity so you have a memento for your old age, or to evidence that it happened, or to show other people who might put something else of yours in their gallery.

Instead of just taking some record shots, I thought taking some covert surveillance footage of people looking at it, might be the sort of thing a smart arse would do. So I did. If you go to the exhibition, you can scan the QR Code that is part of the exhibit and see the surveillance footage (I think that might make it “meta” – a picture about a picture). Or you can always just watch it by clicking on the link at the start of the article, though that will mean you miss seeing the other exhibits, which would make you a bad person.

I’ve discussed surveillance and voyeurism elsewhere, and can’t say I enjoyed doing the surveilling, but what I found watching how people react to individual pieces in this (and other) exhibitions will probably end up in the project I’m doing about art galleries.

If you’ve not been paying attention at the back, the piece is made up of two ViewMaster slide viewers, one has a reel of photographs of CCTV cameras taken in Manchester and Salford, the other has a reel of photos inside the control rooms that control the cameras on the other reel – you have to guess which control room operates which camera – there’s a book with the answers in.


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