Friday, March 24, 2006

Counter Surveillance

On the one hand it is necessary to critique systems of oppression and expose the rationale, technique, and consequence of its operation in our lives. On the other hand it is also necessary to create the practice of resistance which best fits the oppressive conditions of our lives. One of the most pervasive discourses (knowledge + practice) of oppression is that of surveillance. Surveillance is a method of power which combines spatial arrangement with strategic, aesthetic, or economic valorization of the landscape. Surveillance creates a superior invulnerable position of the observer which coincides with the role of affirming the political order that makes that position possible. Becasue surveillance creates a sense of mastery over the unknown it legitimizes the control over a population. Surveillance can be resisted and is being resisted. I have included some links to counter-surveillance sites which demonstrate the creative practice of resistance.

Guide to Closed Circuit Television Destruction
How to Neutralize Camera Sensors
The Surveillance Camera Players

Some of the material for this entry was taken from David Spurr's Rhetoric of Empire: Colonial Discourse in Journalism, Travel Writing, and Imperial Administration (2001) Duke U. Press. Check it out.