Ocularis: Eye Surrogates

Tran T. Kim-Trang

1997, 21:00 minutes, colour/B&W, English


Ocularis: Eye Surrogates is an experimental video tape addressing issues of surveillance and technology that allow us to see where we normally can not. Through a 1 800 (toll free) number publicized nationally, recorded messages of fears and fantasies about video surveillance were collected from callers: if you were caught on videotape what would be the worst thing you could be doing? if you could watch someone, what would you want to see?
The video highlights several narratives revolving around video surveillance: a teenage babysitter who watches pornography on the job; a racist bully on an elementary school bus; a church leader attempting rape; a pathologically paranoid individual and her exploits. These narratives raise issues of surveillance, not to reiterate the conventional privacy argument, but rather to engage in a more profound consideration of the construction of this society's desire to watch surveillance materials and its insatiable voyeurism, as well as what it would mean to have an alter-electronic ego or to be biologically tagged without the recourse to "pass" for survival's sake.

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Critical Writing

Captured and Controlled: Critiquing Surveillance through The Camera
by Sarah E. K. Smith. Sorting Daemons: Art, Surveillance Regimes and Social Control, 2010. Kingston: Agnes Etherington Art Centre, 2010.
The Skin of the Film: Intercultural Cinema, Embodiment, and the Senses
by Laura U. Marks. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2000.