In March 2008 Shaina Anand collaborated with Manchester Metropolitan University and Arndale Shopping Centre to open working CCTV environments to a general audience. People normally 'enclosed' by these networks came into the control rooms to view, observe and monitor this condition, endemic in the UK.
Manchester's Open Street Surveillance, with its Pan-Tilt-Zoom cameras (covering a 3km radius) and systems wired into the surrounding architecture over a decade ago were subject to demonstrations, scrutiny and inquiry by 36 participants. These sessions became somewhat like a diagnostic clinic, where symptoms, anxieties and inoculations about 'public health', under surveillance were mediated upon. The therapy sessions seemed to work both ways, for the participants as well as the security officers.
If the analog control room of MMU's Open Street Surveillance seemed 'just like 1984', the CCTV control room of the Arndale Centre bore cold testimony to the much heard myth, 'the IRA bomb saved Manchester'. The mall was the site of the largest IRA bomb in the UK, (1996) and its rebuilding (to create the largest Mall in UK) was the start of Manchester's regeneration program.
By having over 100 members of the public sign 'image-release' forms, the crew manipulated the UK Data Protection Act to have 'public' access the surveillance feed from the malls 206 cameras.
Visit links on the right for still and moving images and text about the sessions.
Annotations and Downloads at PAD.MA
A series of videos were exhibited at Cornerhouse, Manchester in April-May 2008 for the Asian Trienale Manchester 08, in an exhibition titled, What do you want?, curated by Kathy Rae Huffman.
Commissioned by Cornerhouse and Cornerhouse Education Livewire Program.
Capital Circus commissioned by Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Norway for Reality Effects.
Chris Clarke, Ashok Sukumaran, Marisa Draper.
Special thanks to:
Kathy Rae Huffman, Sarah Perks, Tereza Kotyk at Cornerhouse.
Georgina Amica-Carpenter, Max Igbon and Jon Ratcliffe from Livewire Youth Program and Dean Brocklehurst, Hannah Mosley, Dale Copley.
Jai Redman from Ultimate Holding Company.
Joe and Steve.
Ian, Bernadette, Mike, Alf, Stewart.
Gayle, Colin and Paul.
Jodie Sadler, Marisa Draper, Dean Brocklehurst, Rob Dunne, Alasdair Swenson, Sarah Jamison, Gwen Osmond, Roisin Weintraub and Daniel Johnson, Rachel Ashcroft, Matthew Holland, Lowri Evans, Amy Pennington, Hannah Swan, James Tennet, Kate Taylor, Helen Taylor, Alex Donohue, Adam Moxley, Amy Glendinning, Julie Spellman, Dale Copley, Phil King, Isabel Croissant, Anna Churcher Clarke, Elisabeth Bromley, Jonathan Watts, Harriet Mitchell, Dan Williamson, Joe Richarson, Jai Redman.
"The Neighbour Before the House deals with the effects and narrative remainders of a (warfare) technology and proposes a method of witnessing, a witness machine."
Day Two was a colder day. Joe and Steve were blurry-eyed when we got to the 'clinic'; Steve had had been on the eleven-hour night shift and was continuing through the day as they were short-staffed. Friday, the day of our first session had been the last day of Uni. Today was Sunday and the streets were quiet.
The 'warmth' of the Control room provided a space for diagnosis and self-examination. From Kate Taylor, a film curator from Liverpool interested in how artists and operators view CCTV to Phil, an employee of BAE systems and Julie who worked at Granada TV came a range of questions and reflections. Steve, feeling vulnerable and less on the defense offered us some clear insights about life 'on the beat' and about the processes of gentrification and regeneration he had witnessed in the city.
View short excepts from Day Two below.
The doors of the clinic opened at 11 am. "Have a nice day" by the Stereophonics was playing on the radio and in came Jodie Sadler, a young filmmaker who had traveled from London for the session."So how does all this work, talk me through it."
The day progressed with two-person on-the-hour sessons.
View short excerpts from Day One.
Through both days, Max, Jon, Georgina, Marisa, Chris and I walked through the mall, aware that we were being followed. Playing around with UK's Data Protection act and the documentary filmmakers mandatory 'image release'(with a side-ways wink at 'participatory' art practice), we carried with us "Image Release Forms' and encouraged people to sign on. The net result was that we had about a 100 release forms and were able to make a 'public' request for the Surveillance Videos.
Around 4 in the evening, the sun came out for a bit. Stuart, (who we had earlier visited at 2am on Friday night to witness the night shift) takes me for a walk around the MMU area. He maps all 36 'open street' cameras. Steve in the control keeps close track on us, cameras overhead rotate and tilt down. I film them instinctively, like animals stalking prey they watch, dark-eyed. Keeping Steve company in the control room are Chris and Anna and Elizabeth, the 4 o'clock visitors. As Stuart and me end our camera count, they spy 2 of their friends cutting across the park.
At 10 am on March 25, Chris Clarke led us to the back alley behind the Arndale Center. A series of buzzers, auto-lock doors and sign-ins later, and we were in the control room of the Arndale Mall.
Shaina Anand and Ashok Sukumaran's project CCTV Social is being shown as a 30-minute video at Space Hamilton, Seoul as part of the exhibition
"The Second Order", curated by Ji Yoon Yang.
Opening December 7th, 2010.
Artists talk by Ashok Sukumaran: "Postscript on the Order of Networks"
December 18th, 4pm
CCTV Social and Capital Circus
design to change the world
Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo
October 3, 2013 to January 19, 2014
Two films by CAMP
A roof-top that has been active for ten years.
A never-ending project housed at CAMP around peoples histories of Bombay-Mumbai.
A space we built and run with others, located in the R and R colony of Lallubhai Compound, Mumbai.
Save the Dates!
A project of listening, including with our ears, to some materials that seem to not touch us directly, but make up our "environment".
60 minute film produced with the National Coastwatch Institution, Folkestone, Kent, UK.
showing at the NCI cabin at Copt Point (10:30 am - 5:00 pm) and in pubs in Folkestone harbour,
as part of the Folkestone Triennial upto September 25, 2011.
Saturday or Sunday evening screenings through winter, exploring footage both within and outside the usual capsule of "the film". An experience that could be similar to watching films, or at other times harder to digest, or slower to release, closer to the moment of shooting, less censorious, and less fearful of finitude. Another life, another world of viewing and listening experiences is always possible.
CAMP is involved in a 2-year "print-from-web" project, linked to its own investigations of the infrastructures of commerce and pleasure in this part of London. As part of the first "block study", we looked at several buildings and their ownership and use histories, and produced a series of tablemats.
The web-based part of the project resides at http://edgwareroad.org. This website collects materials from various such "studies", conducted by us and others, which then are collaboratively edited and published in a number of physical forms: volumes, pamphlets and placemats. This is an ongoing project, as part of the Serpentine Gallery's Public Program.
Ashok and Azeer spent some time thinking about and building the CAMP terrace roof structure, built in late 2009. Some of the designs that were sketched out are further below: a big requirement was some retractability, i.e. the ability to have a shading roof in the day but to have it open/ partially open at night, for things like screenings under the stars.