Surveillance, in all forms, is now part of our everyday life. We are watched as much as we watch others. Social media, photography, and technology have broken down the old paradigm of government versus the people. In contemporary society these new types of covert observation have become routine and normal. They have broad implications for our lives in a democracy or at least our perceptions of it, something that this installation aimed to explore.
The Surveillance Project was both an exhibition and a public art installation. The exhibition featured the Wende Museum’s collection of surveillance equipment. The accompanying public art installation consisted of inviting contemporary artists from Berlin, the U.K. and LA to paint the back of the museum’s 10 original Berlin Wall segments installed on Wilshire Blvd opposite LACMA to help conserve the Wall pieces and address the subject of surveillance in our lives.
The murals by Los Angeles-based artist Retna, U.K.-based artist D*Face, and Berlin-based artist duo Herakut (Falk Lehmann and Jasmin Siqquidi) cover nine segments belonging to the ‘east side’ of the original Berlin Wall – the side that faced the East German death strip and was never painted. In keeping with the Wall’s original function as an organic, ever-changing site for art happenings, these artists offer a commentary on the eroding space of the private individual operating in a public place that uses technology as an agent of social control.