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Surveillance Awareness Bureau

1 Grey St., Wellington
May 27–Jun 13, 2015

The Surveillance Awareness Bureau (SAB) intends to create a space of critical engagement that grants visibility to systems that by nature should remain invisible to individuals and, at the same time, provoke a highly charged debate on privacy, liberty, control, and abuse.

This pop-up office—located in a vacant retail space in Wellington's CBD—features some of the alternatives that artists, designers, scholars, and journalists can propose to highlight the tension and risks between seeing and not seeing the effects of technologies in our quotidian. It exalts the vulnerability of humans in that constant non-illuminated space that is control framed by unawareness.

Not a single day passes without news of trust breaches and information misuse of data in all levels, from the common individual to states and international organizations. However, while certain technologies can be viewed as privacy predators, there are already counterarguments that use the same technologies as tools of resistance or as a critical democratic element that can connect individuals with the wider social and political environment in which they live.

By mapping various usages of surveillance technologies, the Surveillance Awareness Bureau draws attention to the multiple ambiguous forms of vigilance that could be positioned along a spectrum from “care” to “control”—from watching to enhance the care and safety of others to suspiciously scrutinizing one’s attitudes and behaviors in order to govern, or influence someone else’s will upon individuals, societies, and states.

Participants: Zach Blas, James Bridle, Paolo Cirio, Simon Denny, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Hemi Macgregor, Ruben Pater, Terri Te Tau

Curator: Claudia Arozqueta



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