Critical Writing Index

"Try to Walk With the Sound of my Footsteps": The Surveillant Body in Contemporary Art

by Kirsty Robertson

Sorting Daemons: Art, Surveillance Regimes and Social Control, 2010, pp. 31-47

Kingston: Agnes Etherington Art Centre, 2010

In this critically informed essay, Robertson presents a two-fold argument. First, that artistic productions focusing solely on vision "...represent a struggle to control the power of the gaze rather than to subvert it." Second, Robertson argues that modern surveillance has become less about looking and seeing and more about the acquisition of data thus requiring artistic approaches to expand their consideration accordingly. Artists such as Denis Beaubois, Steve Mann, Sophie Calle, Coco Fusco, Wafaa Bilal, and Janet Cardiff are discussed within the context of observation, surveillance, sousveillance; the body of those who look versus the body of those being looked at and how to reverse the gaze of power.

ITEM 2010.029 – available for viewing in the Research Centre

Videos, Artworks and Artists Cited

In the event of Amnesia the city will recall...Denis Beaubois

Steve Mann

Bill Brown

Surveillance Camera Players

The DetectiveSophie Calle

Eyes of LauraJanet Cardiff

Missing Voice (Case Study B)Janet Cardiff

40 Part MotetJanet Cardiff

Domestic TensionWafaa Bilal

Black and BlueDavid Hammons

StrangerShizuka Yokomizo

Dolores from 10 to 10Coco Fusco