September 11 – Elise Morrison – Performing Citizen Arrest: Surveillance Art and the Passerby

Elise Morrison, the newest IPSY postdoctoral fellow, will present work from her current book project on ‘surveillance art’. The presentation will focus on several contemporary performance art pieces that stage critical artistic interventions into quotidian scenes of contemporary sociopolitical surveillance. These ‘surveillance art’ works strategically redeploy mainstream surveillance technologies in order to defamiliarize and disrupt the normalized operations of surveillance within public space and everyday life. In doing so, they seem to ‘arrest’ subjects of everyday surveillance in the habitual action of ‘passing by’ publicly installed surveillance cameras, and, within the arrested moment, foreground and reimagine aspects of surveillance society that have become so routine and normalized as to be invisible. Works by contemporary artists Jill Magid and the Surveillance Camera Players serve as particularly effective examples of this process, as these artists utilize theatrical methods to draw attention to normalized blindspots in the surveillant interface and to explore the range of possibilities for affective expression and human interaction available through publicly installed surveillance cameras.