Essay written for MFA in June 2019 (James Tregaskis all rights reserved)
Surveillance has been with us throughout western history. The use of technology opens up opportunities for covert activities. Increasingly sophisticated methodologies are employed with each advance in technology.
In this paper I set out examples of surveillance, contrasting desirable and undesirable outcomes in its use. I present examples of recent and more sophisticated techniques of surveillance to raise the question – is surveillance out-of-control? Evidence suggests that the Internet has accelerated the advancement and aggregation of bad actors in the commercial arena to a toxic extent, a manifestation referred by commentators on surveillance as ‘surveillance capitalism’ . Could it be that the government-initiated high technology surveillance methods used on their populations are a good thing and perhaps necessary for the ultimate survival and benefit of mankind? The resultant asymmetry of power does not only lie in global corporations but is also held by governments. How has the evolution of surveillance and the questions it raised been dealt with by artists and how do they approach the subject?…