Screencaptures of surveillance cameras
photo, video + sound installation

A collaboration with Stan Eberlein (field recordings)

An underwater camera in a swimming pool, a nursing home for elderly people, a kindergarten, incubators of a neonatal intensive care unit – somewhere in the World Wide Web /// Wood, nails, roof tiles, a jungle, cracking class – sounds inside the body, uncovering and intruding the private from an unreal perspective. In screen captures of surveillance cameras that are publicly accessible via the Internet, the installation explores the inter(de-)connectedess of the private and the public as well as the roles of actors and observers between daily live and Web 2.0.

//// Inside/Outside –
“What does a scanner see?” (P.K. Dick)

video stills

stills from the four videos used in the installation

The project consists of surveillance camera screen captures that are publicly accessible via the Internet (due to the ignorance or carelessness of the operators), coupled with field recordings.

How unbearable it is for most people to even think that someone else might be able to take a look into the intimacies of their private life is illustrated by the numerous indignant reactions to news about the introduction of both Google’s street view service and naked scanners at airports. At the same time, however, an ever greater part of our everyday lives takes place online, and sharing one’s self on blogs and social networks has become ever more popular. What privacy means is hardly ever questioned in this context, and the private is often made accessible all too willingly to an unknown public.

Against this backdrop, this project scrutinizes the borders between the public and private realm, a boundary that has become ever more blurred. The project also touches upon the role of the observer who – as a kind of invisible intruder or a visitor through an open back door/an open channel in the security “wall”, trespasses into the private, yet at the same time is always only an outsider to the scene observed.

The field recordings take up on the idea of an acoustic inside and outside and the trespassing of borders both at the level of the sound object (mimetic / symbolic) and – as an interlocking of disparate spaces – the level of the sound perspective (abstract/meta level). The video sound zooms in on the uncovering of a house roof recorded from an unreal perspective directly above (Swimming Pool), extrapolates the grinding sound of brushing one’s teeth as it is heard inside the head (Nursing Home), captures the acoustic debris of stereo microphones bouncing over the surface of a Japanese military music record (Incubator), and presents an ear-piercing orchestra of cicadas as heard while walking through a tropical jungle (Kindergarten).

The installation is located between intimacy, fascination and the crossing of moral limits. What remains for the observed is feelings of concern and insecurity: Do these images appear on someone’s screen somewhere? Are they even taped? Do those other people – the observers – actually exist and what kind of persons are they? What do they think and what plans do they have? Or do the images simply disappear in the incessant stream of data called the Internet...

screen captures and video: Heike Bors
field recordings: Stan Eberlein  ( Intervall Audio, Scriptones)