Many currents of visual culture studies agree on one thing: seeing is not a mere physiological act of light playing with our retina; it is rather a significant way in which we create a network of relationships between ourselves and our surroundings. By looking at a close object, we include it in the register of our knowledge of the world. By looking at another person, we acknowledge their humanity and create a common bond of sharing the mystery of human life. (That is why we often find it difficult to look in the face of another person, whether it is someone we do not like or the local residents we meet in the streets).
However, human gaze also automatically carries a trace of supervision. On the stage of social relations we set out on every day after careful home preparation, mutual evaluation represents one of the basic elements of human interaction. We mirror, seduce, provoke, set limits and examples for each other. However, how do the basic principles of human communication, in which gaze plays a key role, change based on how the situation of seeing , which takes place automatically via new communication platforms and recording technologies, enters our everyday lives?
What power in the field of social relations can be attributed to the virtual look by which we view and evaluate ourselves and others in the environment of social media? How real has the notion of a digital panopticon become, assigning us the passive roles of planters operating on the physical and virtual field of work and fun under the permanent surveillance of international corporations? Can the very images of contemporary digital surveillance presented by contemporary visual arts change the way in which we contribute to their formation?
The theme of image versus surveillance will be discussed by the following guests:
ANDREA SLOVÁKOVÁ (film theorist and maker) Images of Surveillance Organization (film essay In Sight)
DALIBOR KNAPP (audiovisual artist) The Mythology, Inhabitants and Colonization of Digital Space
TEREZA RUDOLF (contemporary arts curator) Eye in the Sky – Fotograf Festival 2017