You are being watched. Drive through any populated area and you are likely to be photographed. An evening stroll through town will see you recorded hundreds of times. Every time you log on, make a phone call, win an auction online your details are being recorded.
Techonlogy has realised mass surveillance, at a click any proscribed Irish Government department can request information on your communications, e-mails, even your current location via your mobile phone.
I chose photography as my primary medium to explore the the relationship between the camera and the photographer that is analogous to that of the closed circuit television system and the operator. I decided to attempt to engage this relationship. I drew inspiration from Bruce Naumann and Sophie Calle and began photographing hundreds of CCTV cameras, people became guarded and suspicious towards me, security guards confronted me, photographing a CCTV camera on the side of a building became a personal sleight, I had invaded their space.
From then on invading space became the backbone of my work, I wanted to get inside the mind of a voyeur. I invaded indiscriminately, i took snapshots, followed people and hid cameras. The video is a catalog of this invasion, an enduing facsimile of events as I have witnessed them, it’s soundtrack a mixture of synthesizer, radio sounds and a recording of a numbers station, one of many clandestine radio transmissions of unknown origin.
You are the subject of this invasion, I See You…"
The space was set up with two TVs, on the left was a video playing on the right a Live feed CCTV camera and looked like this:
The video, which may be viewed below, consists of a series of colour photos I had taken since September, following pieces, candid shots and cctv cameras. they play in quick succession and then suddenly stop, turn black and white then get glitchy like that of an old broken CCTV monitor. There are 3 sound tracks, one from i-life sound effects, a scratching record player and a tape rewind and one of which I created on the Micro Korg synth, an audio hum that intensifies when on the still images. The 3rd sound track and most important is that of a shortwave Numbers Station called The Swedish Rhapsody. These stations transmitted coded content in the form of numbers or letters and were proceeded by an unusual piece of music, in this case the type of ice-cream van jingle, then counting from one to ten twice. This allowed the receiving party time to prepare for their secret transmission. These stations originated in World War 1 and were expected to end after WW2, however, the activity of these stations has increased in the last 50 years and yet no country lays claim to them. The combination of the ‘being watched photos’ and the strange sounds and seeing themselves on the CCTV feed, create an eerie feeling, feeding into the whole paranoia of being watched. Beside my TV’s I had a plinth with my book of photos, my statement and my business cards. For the assessments also I had my portfolio of images, scrap books, sketchbooks and research folders which looked like this:
Out in the corridor as you walk into the space there is vinyl contact lettering saying I See You…
right beside a CCTV camera. Here is the vid, I See You…
This is over now, there shall be no more of it…