Sunday, 28 March 2010

Tracing the unseen border...

While preparing for my forthcoming exhibition I was reminded of this project from 2008 by Manu Luksch at Ambient TV. The first phase of the project involved mapping the cameras around Whitehall between Charing Cross and Parliament Square. Unsurprisingly in such a sensitive area of the city her activity did not go unnoticed by the authorities. However, resolving to "act less suspiciously", she returned on the second day to map the range of one of the cameras she had identified on the first.

Previous posts on the development of my current project and street photography should indicate my ongoing pre-occupation with the kinds of invisible borders we unwittingly cross everyday. Without hindrance or warning we pass from public streets to equally open, and often unassuming private estates, unaware that certain of our supposed rights, however trivial, may be compromised. Then there are the secret and shifting demarcations of those S44 areas that remain exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act: unverifiable zones of exception, where the simple act of taking a photograph can render someone suspect.

What I like about Luksch's project is that she stuck around. Having traced the unseen border she set up her own border control. But far from limiting the passer-by, by standing sentinel at that invisible border she gave them back the choice and responsibility for themselves that they'd been denied.

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