Stasi / Facebook / Big Data DAAD Day 27 – Exhibits on surveillance at Museum für Fotografie

Yesterday I headed to the Museum für Fotografie to see two exhibitions on surveillance.

The Field Has Eyes. Images of the Surveillant Gaze includes 75 prints, books, photographs and examples of optical apparatus to present a visual and cultural history of the controlling gaze from the 16th to the 20th century. I don’t have many images because ironically the museum of photography does not allow photographs.

Daniel Chodowiecki. The Eye of Providence. 1787. Etching, 4 x 5′”

Still, I was able to track down many works online. An example is this one, which focuses on the “all seeing eye” of God as a heavenly entity that watches over everyone like Daniel Chodowiecki’s The Eye of Providence (1787).

Johann Paul Pöhlmann. Gottes Augen schauen auch in die heimlichen Winkel (English: “God’s eyes also look into the secret angles”), Kupferstich: 135 x 165 mm, 1809

This view of God as a watcher later evolved into a sort of big brother figure like in Gottes Augen schauen auch in die heimlichen Winkel (English: “God’s eyes also look into the secret angles”), a copperplate by Johann Paul Pöhlmann from 1809. Here the all seeing eye is essentially a surveillance camera, encouraging potential law breakers to heed the warning that their bad deeds won’t go unpunished. This sort of indoctrination was easily transferred to messages from political bodies wishing to keep the behavior of their citizens inline as nation states emerged.

Watching You, Watching Me. A Photographic Response to Surveillance shows works by 10 contemporary artists using photography to address surveillance. This exhibition was sponsored by the Open Society Foundation.

Andrew Hammerand. The New Town. 2013.

In Andrew Hammerand’s The new town (2013), the artist captured surveillance images from a camera placed in the center of an idealized planned community in the American Midwest. These are haunting and beautiful reminders of the gaze of the all seeing eye, and the inability to escape from it in even the most ideal locations.

Julian Roeder. Thermal Imaging Camera, Northern Greece, 2012, Archival Pigment Print, 152 x 109 cm

Julian Roeder. Tracking Dog, Northern Greece, 2012, Archival Pigment Print, 152 x 109 cm

Julian Roeder’s Mission and Task (2012) consists of images of the technology and people working in contemporary surveillance at the border of the Schengen zone.

Mari Bastashevski & Privacy International. Private Interests. 2014

Mari Bastashevski & Privacy International presented photographs and evidence of Central Asian governments use of electronic surveillance technologies to spy on activists and journalists, domestically and abroad, in order to clamp down on dissent and to reinforce their political
control. This installation included the stories of several Uzbekistan journalists and lawyers who were surveilled, intimidated, and threatened with prison for their work. This project is covered in detail in this PDF.

Hasan Elahi. Thousand Little Brothers.

In response to questioning by the FBI in suspicious post-9/11 USA, Hasan Elahi created Thousand Little Brothers which includes 32,000 photographs he made during his ongoing project to give the FBI every detail of his life, especially the mundane.

Both exhibitions are up until 2 July, 2017.

Coleman Center residency progress Tues Jan 29

There is much interest in my project here at the Coleman Center. People stop by every hour with photographs and stories of their past experiences and motivations for joining the service.


To My Dearest and Beloved Family, Aubrey, England, May 3, 1945


On Monday I worked with the Art Club, showing them how to use the equipment and talking about the many different ways the military is represented through photography and film.


Touching up a WWI image


Fred Adams and his portrait

A Single Composite, May 7–June 24, Bauer&Ewald, Berlin

This week I am installing an ambitious new project in a quaint and friendly space called bauer&ewald located in Kreuzberg / Neuköln (Berlin) opening on May 7 until the end of June. There will be a party on the evening of the opening day. Please come if you are in town.

You can see a video of a small study online here and here.

A Single Composite
Owen Mundy

May 7–June 24

Vernissage (opening): May 7, 19:00+
Finissage (closing): June 23, 19:00+

“Nothing now distinguishes the function of the weapon and the eye; the projectile’s image and the image’s projectile form a single composite.”
—Paul Virilio in “War & Cinema”

A Single Composite is a kinetic installation and multi-projection/viewing apparatus consisting of one 100cm wide film strip stretched, twisted, and looped through multiple spaces by reconstituted digital printer chassis. This cinematic enterprise, a sprawling film through which declassified and other found reconnaissance footage is projected on walls, ceilings, and floors, forms a series of individual moments of surveillance and implied violence.

Lenaustraße 20
12047 Neukölln-Berlin
u8 schönleinstraße, u7/u8 hermannplatz

Öffnungszeiten (open hours):
Mo-Sa ab 18:00, So ab 16:00
jeweils bis spätnachts (until late)