It’s not the first technical evolution in urban environment and it’s not the first artistically protest against observations of public space, but the brilliant CCTV birds and the corresponding “panoptICONS” project by Thomas voor ‘t Hekke and Bas van Oerle are somehow special. Maybe it’s because of the strong politically, anti-control background, the great artistic implementation or the fantastic idea of cyborg-animals in a city…these urban installations are fuckin’ great, the public feedback confirms it!
panoptICONS addresses the fact that you are constantly being watched by surveillance cameras in city centres. The surveillance camera seems to have become a real pest that feeds on our privacy. To represent this, camera birds – city birds with cameras instead of heads – were placed throughout the city centre of Utrecht where they feed on our presence. In addition, a camera bird in captivity was displayed to show the feeding process and to make the everyday breach of our privacy more personal and tangible.
And they are right! Especially here in London, where almost every street corner, junction and house entrance is observed 24/7 by CCTV, such protest interventions are needed. Great idea, nice outworking! Dutch-speakers could find more info about the concept on panopticons.nl.