Opening night of SUPER VISION (newest theater/new-media/spectacle work about “ dataveillance” by The Builders Association and dbox) is just hours away. Since announcement of the work’s topic many months ago, my awareness of surveillance in general and the resulting paranoia has seen new heights.
As a performer, surveillance doesn’t bother me when I am notified of, and consent to, it. I am also aware that when I look beyond the stage lights into an audience and see that steady red pin-point of light, my performance tends to morph as I question my audience – am I performing for the group present, or am I performing for those who will see this on video (stage and film requiring different acting techniques)? That said, how does the awareness of surveillance affect us when walking down Hennepin Avenue, or into an elevator, or bank lobby, or grocery store parking lot, or even the Walker Art Center? Does this awareness change our daily performance? Do we find ourselves unwittingly putting on a show?
Enter the Sweat Anticon: a hooded sweatshirt that zips up to the top of the hood, leaving only eyeholes for the wearer to see out – effectively blocking the view of Big Brother. Good for anonymity, bad for a visit from the Department of Homeland Security. Interesting how the mere act of wearing such a garment and taking advantage of the ability to see but not be seen turns the wearer into the very thing he was attempting to evade. The watched is now the watcher.
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