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Monitor

Monitor, reflects upon the surveillance industry, an established global practice perceived as a method to maintain law and order, protect private property and prevent terrorism. It is estimated that there are 4.2 million CCTV cameras in the UK alone. CCTV surveillance is the overt manifestation of a far wider and covert ‘Surveillance Society’. The principals of CCTV technologies can be traced historically to Jeremy Bentham’s architectural blueprint for the ‘Panopticon’ or ‘The Inspection House’ (1791) which was originally proposed for the design of asylums and prisons. The ‘all-seeing eye’ of Bentham’s Panopticon later became the photomechanical eye of the camera, the device par excellence for ‘permanent visibility’.

In the process of making this series of photographs the vantage point of each CCTV operator has been interrupted by placing a camera between the observer and the observed (between the operator and a bank of monitors h/she must constantly scan, searching for ‘suspicious behaviour’. In each photograph the surveillance operator stares directly out of the frame to a point beyond the viewer, the gaze is uncomfortable. I am reminded of ‘police mug shots’ where the subject is exposed to the scrutiny of the viewer.