Artistic Explorations of Securitised Architecture and Urban Space

in Architecture and Control

This article explores the securitisation of urban space through a series of photographic and video performance works made in the British context. After introducing a number of security trends through the work of photographer Henrietta Williams, the chapter explores the documentary photography series Amber Alert (2012) and The Camera Never Lies (2009) by Giles Price as well as Jill Magid’s performance and video project Evidence Locker (2004). These works share a strong interest in securitised architecture and space and the ways in which they affect us as individual and collective subjects. These works do more than just represent the transformation of cities in the name of security that has characterised the past decades; they also trace effects of, as well as possible responses to, this process from the perspective of the individual and citizen. Focusing on the experience of and agency within urban space, works such as those analysed here reflect the new reality of the securitised city as “surveillance space.” Regarding them as a form of practical theory and research, I demonstrate here how works of art can contribute genuine insights to the debate concerning the proliferation of security and surveillance technologies in cities worldwide.

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