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The Lighthouse

CULTURES OF SURVEILLANCE

Call for Papers:

“Cultures of Surveillance”: An Interdisciplinary Conference,

Sponsored by The Film Studies Space: The Centre for the Cultural History of the Moving Image,

UCL (University College London), 29 September – 1 October 2011

We are being watched. The amazing part is that we are no longer even surprised by this. The culture of surveillance increasingly surrounds us in Europe where omnipresent CCTV cameras remind us that nothing escapes the invisible gaze of those behind the lens. At UCL, we have long been surveyed by our founder, Jeremy Bentham, who sits in a wooden case in the lobby and peers from glass eyes and a wax head: his own ‘icon’ body signals that he not only knew what surveillance meant but named it through his invention of the Panopticon. That imaginary device, which Bentham proposed would “help reform morals, preserve health, invigorate industry, diffuse instruction, and lighten public burdens,” continues to be a resonant touchstone for questions about the way governments and private agencies keep watch over our interests – and theirs. This conference, held where Bentham goes on watching both literally and metaphorically, proposes to explore, broadly, the interdisciplinary frameworks for understanding modern surveillance and, particularly, how surveillance practices intersect with visual technologies and histories of culture.

Our conference project emerges from an eagerness to think in new ways about surveillance practices as they intersect with culture, visual culture, and moving image studies. We start from the vantage point that there are many frameworks through which surveillance might be imagined today, ranging from the kinds of surveillance that entail keeping a friendly watch over each other to those represented by policing practices, government monitoring, and undercover investigations.

Our call for papers likewise assumes that questions about surveillance have become central to today’s world, as states and cultures grapple with the complex dynamics of security and liberty and as corporations demand ever more precise data about the world’s populations. As a modern panoptical city, Londonstands at the centre of the shift away from a Cold War culture of surveillance toward the post-9/11 order of things. It has long been one of the centres for the development and deployment of surveillance practices ranging from census taking to identification methods (such as fingerprinting, photography, passports, and DNA typing). It has also served over the past two centuries as a crucial nexus for practices of culture that perpetuate – and often question – the work of both social surveillance and self-surveillance: for example, the novel, detective fiction, museums, and the BBC. Visual recording and representations have historically played a central role in surveillance practices throughout the industrialising world: printmaking, photography, the cinema, and televisual moving images have accompanied the rise of the modern police force and the development of security systems in public as well as private spaces. “Cultures of Surveillance” hopes to address these intertwined histories of surveillance, practices of governance, visual technologies, and cultural forms.

This conference is sponsored by UCL’s Film Studies Space, an interdisciplinary centre for the study of the cultural history of moving images. It derives from two ongoing research projects, The Work of Film, investigating the ways moving images have been utilised by states and corporations to guide the conduct of populations; and The Autopsies Project, examining the afterlife of material objects in relation to the history of consumer culture and cinematic memory. We hope that conference presenters will discuss a range of issues in the long history of surveillance practices, from photography to digital media.

We anticipate contributions that analyse the myriad ways that visual culture has been enmeshed with political rationalities. We are keen to expand our frameworks far beyond the sphere of Londonand to look outside the Panopticon. We especially hope that contributions will find new ways of asking what it means to watch and to be watched, and to police and to be policed. We look forward to discussing ways that scholars of the humanities can interrogate the networks of surveillance that both protect and transform our world.

Following an opening lecture by Professor Tom Gunning, The University of Chicago, on Thursday, 29 Sept. 2011, the Conference will take place on Friday and Saturday, 30 Sept. and 1 Oct. 2011.

Topics might include but are not limited to:

* Histories of surveillance technologies and their applications

* The geo-politics of surveillance (in the 19th century? in Cold War culture? After 9/11?)

* Architectures of surveillance – visibility and urban space

* Film and television representations of surveillance / Film and the construction of public space

* Photography and the police

* Constructions of identity and surveillance methods (fingerprinting, passports, census taking)

* The hidden objects of surveillance (cameras, tape recorders, transmitters, interceptors, tracking systems)

* Histories and representations of objects associated with the collection, storage, and retrieval of personal data: from filing cabinets, paper shredders, computers …. (etc.)

* The Obsolete Objects of Surveillance (i.e., objects of surveillance that have fallen out of use)

* How do objects make visible personal data that is otherwise invisible?

* Self-policing: how do we watch them watch us?

* Technologies of the self and new media / Technologies of the self and dead media

* Systems of meaning and truth under surveillance/ imaginary and real inventions for policing and detecting such as lie detectors, truth serums, mind reading

* War-time surveillance: rationing and ration books, black market trading (representations and history)

* Governmental efforts to educate citizens (e.g. road safety campaigns, anti-littering campaigns, anti-smoking campaigns, etc.), both in filmic representation or through tv and press media.

* The gadgets of surveillance in spy films

* The art of CCTV cameras / Cultural plays with CCTV

* Watching cultures and Reality TV

* The relationship of bodies to surveillance technologies.

* The arts of documentary photography

* Prison plans and texts

* Watching you watching me: photography OF the police

* Under-cover policing in Film Noir / Policing practices in TV crime series

* Police procedurals (novelistic, cinematic, televisual)

* Forensic science and the invention of modern vision

* Panopticism and cinematic surveillance: theories, practices, and representations

* The relationship between voyeurism and surveillance

* New visibilities of surveillance / Changing temporalities and spaces of surveillance

* Documentary (as) surveillance

* Self-registration (tattoos, dog-tags) and rights

* Neighbourhood watch, curtain twitchers, vigilante work: putting the everyday under surveillance

* ‘Take back the night’ and women’s relationship to surveillance

* The political economy of visual technology and surveillance

* Advanced capitalism and (visual) cultures of surveillance

* Surveillance regimes in comparative historical, national, and political contexts

* Watching out for the future: surveillance technologies in science fiction

* ‘They have me under surveillance’: Paranoia and modernity

* Design technologies and panopticism / anti-panopticism

* The aesthetics of surveillance

* What can humanities scholars bring to current debates about surveillance?

* How can film studies contribute to debates about surveillance culture?

Individual papers are invited from scholars and researchers in any discipline of the humanities, arts, social sciences, and sciences. Scholars from postgraduate to permanent senior academics are welcome to submit papers. Presentations would equally be welcomed from artists and filmmakers.

One-page abstracts for 20-minute presentations and a brief c.v. should be sent by Wed., 15 June to:

The Culture of Surveillance Conference Organisers

(Lee Grieveson, Rebecca Harrison, Jann Matlock, and Simon Rothon) at deadobjects@gmail.com

Participants will be notified by 30 June 2011

A conference publication is projected.

For more information on our projects, see http://www.autopsiesgroup.com and http://twitter.com/autopsiesgroup

—END—

‘I believe in the afterlife.

It starts tomorrow,

When I go to work’

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon, ‘Human Herbs’ at: http://www.myspace.com/coldhandsmusic (recording) and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2h7tUq0HjIk (live)

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

MySpace Profile: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski

The Ockress: http://www.theockress.com

Rikowski Point: http://rikowskipoint.blogspot.com

CENTRE FOR THE STUDY OF EDUCATION AND WORK – UPDATE 8th MAY 2011

EVENTS

DYING FOR A HOME: FIGHTING FOR OUR SOCIAL PROGRAMS

Thursday, May 19
7 pm
Toronto Reference Library, Atrium
Yonge Street, north of Bloor

Join Toronto street nurse Cathy Crowe for a street-level perspective on the need for social housing and why we need social programs now more than ever. Crowe has been a street nurse in downtown Toronto for more than seventeen years and co-founded the Toronto Disaster Relief Committee. Music provided by the Common Thread Community Choir. Hosted by Councillor Adam Vaughan.

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STOP SIGNS: CARS AND CAPITALISM ON THE ROAD TO ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND ECOLOGICAL DECAY

Thursday, May 12
7pm
Bahen Centre, Room 1200
40 St. George St., Toronto

In North America, human beings have become enthralled by the automobile: A quarter of our working lives are spent paying for them; communities fight each other for the right to build more of them; our cities have been torn down, remade and planned with their needs as the overriding concern; wars are fought to keep their fuel tanks filled; songs are written to praise them; cathedrals are built to worship them.

Drawing on their new book Stop Signs: Cars and Capitalism on the Road to Economic, Social and Ecological Decay, authors Bianca Mugyenyi and Yves Engler will describe how the automobile’s ascendance is inextricably linked to capitalism and involved corporate malfeasance, political intrigue, backroom payoffs, media manipulation, racism, academic corruption, third world coups, secret armies, environmental destruction and war.

To locate this discussion in the Toronto context, local activist Jordy Cummings will describe the work of the campaign for Free and Accessible public transit, which is being spearheaded by the Greater Toronto Workers’ Assembly.

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COUNCILLOR JOSH MATLOW’S TOWN HALL DEBATE ON GARBAGE PRIVATIZATION

Tuesday, May 10th 2011
7:00 – 9:00 pm
North Toronto Collegiate Institute, 17 Broadway Ave – SCHOOL AUDITORIUM

Councillor Josh Matlow will be holding a Town Hall debate on the garbage privatization issue which will be coming to City Council in mid-May, to ensure residents have an opportunity to become informed on both sides of this important issue. It will be moderated by TVO’s Steve Paikin and will feature Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong, Chair of Toronto Public Works Committee and Hugh Mackenzie of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

For additional information, please contact Josh Matlow’s office at (416) 392-7906 or email councillor_matlow@toronto.ca

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STOP WAGE THEFT! CAMPAIGN LAUNCH

Friday May 13, 2011
7:00pm * FREE!
Beit Zatoun – 612 Markham Street
(Bathurst St. and Bloor St.)

Celebrate our shared resistance with performances by:

* Ruben ‘Beny’ Esguerra and New Tradition Drum and Dance live Afro-Colombian percussion
* Spoken word by Lishai

Hear from Workers’ Action Centre leaders on our fight to stop employers from stealing our wages.    

Watch undercover footage of employers breaking the law, and see how workers are resisting through Bad Boss actions around the city.

Find Out how you can get involved!

Workers’ Action Centre is releasing a series of videos on wage theft. Watch the latest video at http://www.workersactioncentre.org

For more information: call Sonia at (416) 531-0778, ext. 221.

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(UN)LAWFUL ACCESS: CYBER-SURVEILLANCE, SECURITY AND CIVIL LIBERTIES

May 12, 2011
5:00pm- :00pm
Campbell Conference Facility
Munk School of Global Affairs, U of T
1 Devonshire Place
Toronto, ON

Join moderator Dr. Ron Deibert for an insightful and lively discussion into some of the most pressing social issues surrounding our rights and freedoms as cyber-surveillance becomes an ubiquitous part of our lives, on-line and off.

Digitally mediated surveillance is an increasingly prevalent, but still largely invisible, aspect of everyday life. As we work, play and negotiate public spaces, on-line and off, we produce a growing stream of personal digital data of interest to unseen others. CCTV cameras hosted by private and public actors survey and record our movements in public space, as well as in the workplace. Corporate interests track our behaviour as we navigate both social and transactional cyberspaces, data mining our digital doubles and packaging users as commodities for sale to the highest bidder. Governments continue to collect personal information on-line with unclear guidelines for retention and use, while law enforcement increasingly use internet technology to monitor not only criminals but activists and political dissidents as well, with worrisome implications for democracy.

Read more: http://www.digitallymediatedsurveillance.ca

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NEXT GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE GTWA: IN THE SPRING OF 2011 WILL STRUGGLE BLOOM?

Saturday May 14, 2011
Steelworkers Hall
25 Cecil Street, Toronto.
East side of Spadina south of College

As we exit the elections and the capitalist class continues to consolidate itself the attacks against working people will come quicker and stronger. The need for an organized resistance is greater than ever.

The Greater Toronto Workers’s Assembly (GTWA) was formed to contribute to this resistance at a time when we saw the tip of the iceberg of the “austerity” program. Looking back less than two years later our success at doing this has been both limited and mixed despite some of our successes. We need to examine the current context, our project and the challenges we face. Do we have the capacity, will and discipline to take on these challenges? Can we overcome the divisions, pressures and practices that divide us? Will we be able to help the struggle bloom?

All members and supporters are welcome. Members and supporters are encouraged to bring guests as observers.

Read more: http://www.workersassembly.ca/node/150

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NEWS & VIEWS

ANTI-AUSTERITY STRUGGLES AND THE CANADIAN ELECTION

From The Bullet

The precise political outcome of the May 2nd election may well have the NDP make an unprecedented electoral breakthrough in Canada and Quebec. This would be a major step in its long desire to displace the Liberals as the other dominant national party, partly to become something more like the Democratic Party in the U.S. and partly to become the alternate centrist political option like the British Labour Party and the German SPD. This is already what the NDP is in Western Canada and Nova Scotia. This needs to be placed in the context of an international political conjuncture where ruling class forces have, paradoxically, gained strength and momentum over the crisis to date; and set against the enduring institutional characteristics of the Canadian political and electoral systems that, if anything, the political parties and campaigns have reinforced.

Read more: http://www.socialistproject.ca/bullet/496.php

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ONTARIO FARM WORKERS ‘SHOCKED’ AS UNION BAN UPHELD

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that a provincial ban on farm unions is constitutional, denying more than 80,000 Ontario farm workers the ability to unionize. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that a provincial ban on farm unions is constitutional, denying more than 80,000 Ontario farm workers the ability to unionize.

Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/story/2011/04/29/supreme-court.html

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MURRAY DOBBIN’S BLOG – A CONSERVATIVE MAJORITY. NOW WHAT?

There is no point dwelling on the obvious other than to simply reiterate it. The election of a Conservative majority government will usher in wrenching change in Canada and we will have to witness the worse that Stephen Harper has to offer. It remains to be seen whether or not Harper actually wants to stay around for another election to win it (and therefore not go too far in a first term), and solidify the dominance of his party as the new “natural governing party.” Or whether, as his personality disorder would suggest, he will in a spirit of vengeance against the country he detests, dismantle as much of the post-war social contract he can in four years of virtually absolute power.

Read more: http://murraydobbin.ca/2011/05/03/a-conservativ-majority-now-what/

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BUY THIS BOOK!

From LBO News, Doug Henwood
Excellent collection of interviews … Perfect for teaching, or just reading. Order your copies here.

Sasha Lilley, Capital and Its Discontents: Conversations with Radical Thinkers in a Time of Tumult (PM Press, 2011)

Interviewees: Ellen Meiksins Wood, David Harvey, Doug Henwood, Leo Panitch, Sam Gindin, Greg Albo, David McNally, John Bellamy Foster, Jason W Moore, Ursula Huws, Gillian Hart, Vivek Chibber, Mike Davis, Tariq Ali, John Sanbonmatsu, Andrej Grubacic, and Noam Chomsky.

Through a series of incisive conversations with some of the most eminent thinkers and political economists on the Left—including David Harvey, Ellen Meiksins Wood, Mike Davis, Leo Panitch, Tariq Ali, and Noam Chomsky—Capital and Its Discontents illuminates the dynamic contradictions undergirding capitalism and the potential for its dethroning.

The book challenges conventional wisdom on the Left about the nature of globalization, neoliberalism and imperialism, as well as the agrarian question in the Global South. It probes deeply into the roots of the global economic meltdown, the role of debt and privatization in dampening social revolt, and considers capitalism’s dynamic ability to find ever new sources of accumulation—whether through imperial or ecological plunder or the commodification of previously unpaid female labor.

Read more: https://secure.pmpress.org/index.php?l=product_detail&p=267

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VIDEO – ONLY KNOWN RECORDING OF MOTHER JONES

You have to see the only known audio and video recording of Mother Jones. On what is believed to be her 100th birthday in 1930, the legendary union organizer is still full of fire for worker justice.

Watch the video: http://blog.aflcio.org/2011/05/03/only-known-videoaudio-of-mother-jones/

(END)
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ABOUT CSEW (CENTRE FOR THE STUDY OF EDUCATION & WORK, OISE/UT):

Head: Peter Sawchuk
Co-ordinator: D’Arcy Martin

The Centre for the Study of Education and Work (CSEW) brings together educators from university, union, and community settings to understand and enrich the often-undervalued informal and formal learning of working people. We develop research and teaching programs at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (UofT) that strengthen feminist, anti-racist, labour movement, and working-class perspectives on learning and work.

Our major project is APCOL: Anti-Poverty Community Organizing and Learning. This five-year project (2009-2013), funded by SSHRC-CURA, brings academics and activists together in a collaborative effort to evaluate how organizations approach issues and campaigns and use popular education. For more information about this project, visit http://www.apcol.ca

For more information about CSEW, visit: http://www.csew.ca

END ***

‘I believe in the afterlife.

It starts tomorrow,

When I go to work’

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon, ‘Human Herbs’ at: http://www.myspace.com/coldhandsmusic (recording) and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2h7tUq0HjIk (live)

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

MySpace Profile: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski

The Ockress: http://www.theockress.com

Rikowski Point: http://rikowskipoint.blogspot.com

THE GLOBALISATION OF SURVEILLANCE

The Origin of the Securitarian Order
Armand Mattelart
Translated by Susan Gruenheck Taponier and James A. Cohen

Globalization

Video surveillance, public records, fingerprints, hidden microphones, radio frequency chips: in contemporary societies the use of intrusive techniques of surveillance in daily life has increased dramatically. The ‘war against terror’ has only exacerbated this trend, creating a world that is closer than one might imagine to the one envisaged by George Orwell in 1984.

How did we reach this point? Why have democratic societies allowed their rights and freedoms to be taken away, little by little, through increasingly sophisticated surveillance mechanisms?

From the anthropometry of the nineteenth century to the Patriot Act, via an analysis of military theory and the Echelon project, Armand Mattelart constructs a genealogy of this new power of control and examines its globalizing dynamic.

This book provides an essential wake-up call at a time when democratic societies are becoming less and less vigilant against the dangers of proliferating systems of surveillance.

A tightly packed and critical history of the global rise of security, surveillance and suspicion.’— David Lyon, Queens University

This book cuts through the clutter of post-9/11 political rhetoric to reveal the contours of a global capitalist surveillance economy in which the logics of policing and marketing converge. Mattelart counters the urgent injunction to ignore history in the face of the contemporary threat (because “everything has changed”) by exploring the long marriage between capitalism and surveillance. The book shows us how the mobilization of the promise of security has been used to undermine freedom, and suggests what it might mean to think the two together. This is an indispensable work that explores the sometimes invisible atmosphere in which we move: that of ubiquitous surveillance, tracking, and targeting – and the interests which these serve.’— Mark Andrejevic, University of Iowa

Printed in Great Britain, August 2010

Polity Books: http://www.politybooks.com

 

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

MySpace Profile: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski

The Ockress: http://www.theockress.com

Wavering on Ether: http://blog.myspace.com/glennrikowski

Rikowski Point: http://rikowskipoint.blogspot.com