Surveillance Light (3m), 2019


Humans since 1982
Surveillance Light (3m), 2019
Surveillance equipment, electronic components
3040 x 650 x 650 mm

Surveillance Light (3m) is a large-scale light sculpture made with repurposed industrial CCTV equipment.

The recognisable yet menacing structure highlights the ubiquity of surveillance in contemporary life and the normalisation of monitoring public and private activities, often without explicit consent. With it’s aggressive spike collar, Surveillance Light juxtaposes our primal need for light as a source of illumination, comfort and guidance with the anxiety of mass-surveillance culture. 

At three meters tall with illuminated ‘cameras’ facing in all directions, the sculpture draws parallels between CCTV and the legacy of the panopticon, in which asymmetrical surveillance is enabled by a lit central tower that can observe subjects without them knowing whether or not they are being watched.

This work revisits Humans since 1982’s first collaborative work together, Surveillance Light (2008). The changes in use and attitude towards surveillance over the past decade are reflected in the developments to this concept since its first realisation. The original 2008 artwork was a satirical take on inviting surveillance into the home through Orwellian inspired lighting design, made at a time before we invited surveillance into our homes ourselves through tech companies such as Facebook and Google.

Now in the age of surveillance capitalism, Surveillance Light (3m) is a more combative and willfully intrusive installation than its predecessor, making visible our loss of privacy and conflicted response to private human experiences and behaviors being captured and commodified.