Surveillance and Society

Surveillance Aesthetics in Latin America: Work in progress

Fernanda Bruno, Paola Barreto, Milena Szafir


This on line curatorship presents a selection of 11 works by Latin American artists who incorporate in their creations technologies traditionally linked to surveillance and control processes. By Surveillance Aesthetics we understand a compound of artistic practices, which include the appropriation of dispositifs such as closed circuit video, webcams, satellite images, algorithms and computer vision among others, placing them within new visibility, attention and experience regimes.

The term referred to in the title of this exhibition is intended more as a vector of research rather than the determination of a field, as pointed by Arlindo Machado under the term “surveillance culture”. (Machado 1991) In this sense, a Latin America Surveillance Aesthetics exhibition is a way to propose, starting from the works presented here, a myriad of questions. How and to what extent do the destinies of surveillance devices reverberate or are subverted by market, security and media logics in our societies? If, in Europe and in the USA,surveillance is a subject related to the war against terror and border control, what can be said about Latin America? What forces and conflicts are involved? How have artistic practices been creating and acting in relation to these forces and conflicts?

Successful panoramas of so called Surveillance Art already take place in Europe and North America for at least three decades, the exhibition “Surveillance”, at the Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions being one of the first initiatives in this domain. In Latin America however, art produced in the context of surveillance devices and processes is still seen as an isolated event. Our intention is to assemble a selection of works indicating the existence of a wider base of production, which cannot be considered eventual.

The online exhibition can be accessed here.

Full Text: PDF

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