Images of Surveillance

Saturday program

Goethe-Institut New York



Surveillance and the Emergence of the Neoliberal Welfare State
Evgeny Morozov


Exposed: Desire and Disobedience in the Digital Age
Bernard Harcourt

Surveillance in the Post-Capitalist Society

Armen Avanessian

Beyond Good or Evil: Or, a few thoughts on how to think about surveillance

Jimena Canales

Moderated by Sarah Demeuse & Sarah Hromack


Marcus Steinweg intervenes


Surveillance and the Private Life: Hannah Arendt & Gandhi
Roger Berkowitz & Uday Mehta in conversation

Images of Video Surveillance
Dietmar Kammerer, moderated by Scott Skinner-Thompson


Anonymous P.
Chris Kondek & Christiane Kühl, lecture performance, followed by a Q&A session with Miriam Felton-Dansky


Harun Farocki: I Thought I Was Seeing Convicts (2000) & Counter Music (2004)
Film screening, introduced and followed by a Q&A session with Cathy Lee Crane

Harun Farocki
I thought I was seeing convicts (Ich glaubte Gefangene zu sehen)
23 minutes, BetaSp, color, 2000
Images from the maximum-security prison in Corcoran, California. The surveillance camera shows a pie-shaped segment: a concrete-paved yard where the prisoners, dressed in shorts and mostly shirtless, are allowed to spend a half an hour a day. A convict attacks another, upon which those uninvolved lay themselves flat on the ground, their arms over their heads. They know what comes now: the guard will call out a warning and the fire rubber bullets. If the convicts do not stop fighting now, the guard will shoot for real. The pictures are silent, the trail of gun smoke drifts across the picture. The camera and the gun are right next to each other. The field of vision and the gun viewfinder fall together...

(Harun Farocki
Harun Farocki
Counter Music (Gegen-Musik)
23 minutes, video, 2004
The city today is as rationalized and regulated as a production process. The images which today determine the day of the city are operative images, control images. Representations of traffic regulation, by car, train or metro, representations determining the height at which mobile phone network transmitters are fixed, and where the holes in the networks are. Images from thermo-cameras to discover heat loss from buildings. And digital models of the city, portrayed with fewer shapes of buildings or roofs than were used in the 19th century when planned industrial cities arose, amongst them the Lille agglomeration. Despite their boulevards, promenades, market places, arcades and churches, these cities are already machines for living and working. I too want to 'remake' the city films, but with different images. Limited time and means themselves demand concentration on just a few, archetypal chapters. Fragments, or preliminary studies.
(Harun Farocki

4th floor


Surveillance, Biopolitics, and the City: Health, Foreign Bodies, Visibility, and Discipline
Brooklyn Institute for Social Research, seminar

With Jeffrey Escoffier and Bruce King

What are the links between cities, surveillance, and everyday life? Over the course of his later career, Michel Foucault began to identify a new type of political rationality that he called ‘biopower’ – one in which the fostering of the life, growth, and care of populations became a central concern of the state. Biopower, in Foucault’s argument, relies upon the systematic surveillance of demographic and social conditions. In this session, we will look at New York City as a kind of case study for a “Biopolitical City.” Former mayor Michael Bloomberg made health promotion, accounting, and regulation an integral part of his governing process. This approach had multiple effects. One result was an increase in the rate of life expectancy of the city’s population, making it the highest in the United States. In order to achieve this, the City spent millions of dollars targeting the most important and most preventable causes of death and debility from smoking, obesity, and other diseases through hard-hitting, and often fear-based media campaigns in addition to strict new legislation and police surveillance. How can we assess this form of governance? Do the familiar labels of the so-called “nanny state”, “progressive conservatism”, or the “welfare state” apply to this mode of governance? How do citizen, city, and surveillance apparatus function to create forms of ‘biopower’?
Bruce M. King has a PhD in Classical Languages and Literature from the University of Chicago. He is especially interested in early Greek poetry and philosophy, as well as in anthropological, psychoanalytic, and queer readings of the classics. He has published on Homer, on Sophocles and masculinity, on Empedocles and Freud, and on Walter Pater and the Sirens. His book on the Iliad, provisionally entitled Achilles Unheroic, is forthcoming is 2015. Bruce teaches at the Gallatin School of Individual Study at NYU and has also taught at Columbia University, Vassar College, and Swarthmore College.  

Participants & Moderators

Evgeny Morozov is the author of The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom (Public Affairs, 2012) and To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism (Public Affairs, 2014). In 2010-2012 he was a visiting scholar at Stanford University and a Schwartz fellow at the New America Foundation and a fellow at Georgetown University in 2009-2010 and in 2008-2009 he was a fellow at the Open Society Foundations, where he also sat on the board of the Information Program between 2008 and 2012. Between 2006 and 2008 he was Director of New Media at Transitions Online. Morozov has written for major international media including The New York TimesThe New YorkerLondon Review of BooksThe Wall Street Journal, and The Financial Times
Bernard Harcourt is the Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law at Columbia University, the founding director of the Columbia Center for Contemporary Critical Thought, and directeur d’études (chaired professor) at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris. He writes about surveillance, punishment and political economy. He is the author, most recently, of Exposed: Desire and Disobedience in the Digital Age (Harvard University Press, 2015) and The Illusion of Free Markets: Punishment and the Myth of Natural Order (Harvard University Press, 2011), among several other books. Harcourt is also an active death-row lawyer. He began representing inmates sentenced to death in Alabama in 1990 and continues that work on a pro bono basis today on cases challenging the death penalty and life imprisonment without parole.
Armen Avanessian is editor-in-chief at Merve, a Berlin-based independent publisher specialized in contemporary philosophy, art theory, and politics. In 2012, he founded Speculative Poetics, a bilingual research platform regrouping a series of events, translations, and publications. His recent publications include Irony and the Logic of Modernity (DeGruyter, 2015), Present Tense. A Poetics. (Bloomsbury, 2015), and Speculative Drawing (Sternberg Press, 2014). After completing his dissertation in literature, Avanessian worked at the Free University Berlin from 2007 to 2014. He has also been a visiting fellow in the German Departments at Columbia University and Yale University and a visiting professor at various art academies in Europe and the US. 
Jimena Canales is a historian of science and the author of numerous scholarly and journalistic texts on the history of modernity, focusing primarily on science and technology. She currently holds the Thomas M. Siebel Chair in the History of Science at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and was previously an Assistant and Associate Professor in History of Science at Harvard University. She is the author of The Physicist and the Philosopher: Einstein, Bergson and the Debate That Changed Our Understanding of Time (Princeton University Press, 2015) and A Tenth of a Second: A History (University of Chicago Press, 2011). Canales has published widely in specialized journals (Isis, Science in Context, History of Science, British Journal for the History of Science, and MLN, among others), and also writes for wider audiences (WIRED, BBC, Aperture, and Artforum).
Sarah Demeuse (Belgium) writes, translates, talks, edits, and makes exhibitions. She co-founded curatorial office Rivet together with Manuela Moscoso in 2010 and has mostly worked from this framework since then. Rivet is of episodic nature and focuses on longer-term projects in close collaboration with artists, often in formats other than exhibitions—such as conference calls, semi-public reading groups, print publications, or online PDFs. Sarah has a doctorate in Romance Literatures from UC Berkeley, taught at Columbia University, and has a degree in curatorial studies from CCS Bard. She was a cloud curator for the 9th Mercosul Biennial, Porto Alegre. Her writing has appeared in art catalogues, artist books, and journals such as Art Papers, Art in America, The Bulletins of The Serving Library, The Exhibitionist, Otra Parte, Red Hook, Terremoto, and Witte de With Review. She lives in Brooklyn.
Sarah Hromack teaches about the relationship between technology and the arts in New York University’s Steinhardt School in the Department of Art and Art Professions. Until recently, she worked as the founding Director of the Whitney Museum of American Art's Digital Media program. She has written about the intersection of art, technology, and institutional theory and practice for various publications and websites including Frieze, Artforum, Art in America, Mousse, Print, and Paper Monument. An exhibition she recently organized, Egress, considered the relationship between the technologically-mediated body and physical space; it was on view at New York’s K. gallery through August of 2015.
Marcus Steinweg is a philosopher working at the intersection of philosophy and art, notably through public lectures and collaborations with artists such as Thomas Hirschhorn and Rosemarie Trockel. He teaches at the University of the Arts in Berlin and holds a guest professorship at the University of the Arts in Hamburg. His recent books include Gramsci Theater (Merve, 2015), Philosophie der Überstürzung (Merve,  2013), Kunst und Philosophie / Art and Philosophy (Walter König, 2012), Aporien der Liebe (Merve, 2010), and Politik des Subjekts (Diaphanes,  2009). Steinweg lives and works in Berlin. 
Roger Berkowitz is the director of the Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and Humanities and associate professor of politics, human rights, and philosophy at Bard College. He specializes in law, political theory, and continental philosophy. Publications include The Gift of Science: Leibniz and the Modern Legal Tradition (Harvard University Press, 2005), an account of how the rise of science has led to the divorce of law and justice, and several articles in Yale Journal of Law and Humanities, Journal of Politics, Cardozo Law Review, New Nietzsche Studies, and  Rechtshistorisches Journal. Berkowitz has been at Bard since 2005.
Uday Singh Mehta, Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the CUNY Graduate Center, is a political theorist whose work encompasses a wide spectrum of philosophical traditions. He has worked on a range of issues including the relationship between freedom and imagination, liberalism’s complex link with colonialism and empire, and, more recently, war, peace, and nonviolence. He is the author of Liberalism and Empire: Nineteenth Century British Liberal Thought (University of Chicago Press, 1999), which won the J. David Greenstone Book Award from the American Political Science Association in 2001 for best book in politics and history, and The Anxiety of Freedom: Imagination and Individuality in the Political Thought of John Locke (Cornell University Press, 1992). 
Dietmar Kammerer is a research fellow at the Institute for Media Studies at the University of Marburg, Germany. He is the author of Bilder der Überwachung/Images of Surveillance (Suhrkamp, 2008) and editor of Vom Publicum: Das Öffentliche in der Kunst (Transcript, 2012). He is a member of the international Surveillance Studies Network and has published numerous articles on surveillance, film aesthetics, film theory, and media theory. His current research project focuses on the representation of media in film.
Scott Skinner-Thompson is an Acting Assistant Professor at New York University School of Law, where he is a member of NYU's Privacy Research Group. He writes about anti-discrimination and privacy law, with a particular focus on LGBTQ and HIV issues. His most recent article, "Outing Privacy," is forthcoming in the Northwestern University Law Review. Scott is the editor and contributing author of AIDS and the Law (Aspen, 5th edition, forthcoming 2015), one of the leading resources in the field. Prior to joining NYU in 2014, Scott maintained an active LGBTQ and HIV pro-bono practice representing clients in discrimination suits in federal and state tribunals.
Simon Critchley is the Hans Jonas Professor of Philosophy at the New School for Social Research. He is a scholar of continental philosophy and phenomenology, with particular emphasis on Emmanuel Levinas, Jacques Derrida, Ernesto Laclau, and Martin Heidegger. Much of Critchley’s work examines the crucial relationship between the ethical and political within philosophy. His thinking traverses a variety of genres complimenting his interests in music, humor, and tragedy. His books include Notes on Suicide (Fitzcarraldo, 2015), The Faith of the Faithless (Verso, 2012), The Book of Dead Philosophers (Vintage, 2008), Infinitely Demanding (Verso, 2007), and Very Little… Almost Nothing (Routledge, 1997). Critchley also moderates “The Stone”, a philosophy column in The New York Times, to which he also frequently contributes.
Chris Kondek began his career as a video designer in 1990 while a member of the Wooster Group in New York (Fish Story, Brace up!, The Emperor Jones, among others) and has been developing his own theatrical works since 2004, including Loan Shark (HAU, 2008), Stuff (Neumarkt Theater Zürich) and Please kill 2011 (HAU, 2012). Christiane Kühl studied modern German literature, philosophy and Spanish at the University of Hamburg before working as an arts editor for die tageszeitung (Hamburg and Berlin) and KulturSPIEGEL (Hamburg) and as current events editor for radioeins/rbb (Potsdam). The first joint work by Kondek and Kühl, the stock-market performance Dead Cat Bounce, in 2004, received an award from the Goethe-Institut and 3sat/ZDFtheaterkanal at the 6th Festival Politik im Freien Theater in 2005. Joint works include among others Anonymous P. (2014, coproduction Zürcher Festspiele, Gessnerallee Zürich, Künstlerhaus Mousonturm Frankfurt, Ringlokschuppen Ruhr), SHOOT OUT (2014, Schauspiel Bochum/Urbane Künste Ruhr), Even The Dead Are Not Safe From The Living (2011, Frankfurter Positionen), Money – It Came From Outer Space (2011, HAU Berlin), Übermorgen ist zweifelhaft // 2012 (2010, Münchner Kammerspiele), Hier ist der Apparat (2006, Kunstenfestivaldesarts Brussels). 
Miriam Felton-Dansky is assistant professor of theater and performance at Bard College, where she writes and teaches about the intersections of modern and contemporary performance with new media and social practice. She regularly reviews theater for the Village Voice and has published on contemporary performance in Theater, TDR, PAJ, and Theatre Journal. She is currently writing a book about viral performance. 
The Brooklyn Institute for Social Research is an independent teaching and research center offering community-based education in the liberal arts and sciences. Working in partnership with local businesses and cultural organizations, BISR aims to bridge the artificial gap between academic and popular discourse and re-imagine scholarship for the 21st century.
January 9, 1944 born in Nový Jicin (Neutitschein), at that time Sudetengau, today Czech Republic. 1966-1968 Admission to the just opened Berlin Film Academy (DFFB). 1974-1984 Author and editor of the magazine Filmkritik, Munich. 1993-1999 Visiting Professor at the University of California, Berkeley. 1998 Publication of Speaking about Godard, NYU Press, together with Kaja Silverman. Since 1966 more than 100 productions for television and cinema: children's TV, documentary films, essay films, story films. Since 1996 various solo and group exhibitions in museums and galleries. Since 2004 Visiting Professor, 2006-2011 full professorship at the Academy of Art, Vienna. 2007 Participation in documenta 12 with Deep Play. 2011–2014 Long-term project Labour in a Single Shot, together with Antje Ehmann. July 30, 2014 died near Berlin.
Cathy Lee Crane has been making films on 16mm since 1994. She received the Guggenheim Fellowship in 2013 for her lyrical re-combinations of archival and staged material. Her first feature Pasolini’s Last Words (2012) was supported through grants from the New York State Council on the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Film. The film enjoyed its world premiere at the Montreal Festival du Nouveau Cinema as a “gem of world cinema” and was released on DVD by Salzgeber Medien/Berlin. Her award-winning short films have been broadcast on European television and are distributed by Canyon Cinema and Lightcone. In addition to her short work in 16mm, she produced the experimental biography Unoccupied Zone: The Impossible Life of Simone Weil (2006), which was funded by an Individual Media Artist Grant from the San Francisco Film Commission in 2001 and is distributed in North America by Films Media Group. She has collaborated as projection designer and cinematographer for Joanna Haigood, Harun Farocki, and Strom/Carlson and is developing her own installation work for the gallery. Crane received the first survey of her work in 2015 as part of the American Original Now series at the National Gallery of Art. She is Associate Professor in the Department of Cinema and Photography at Ithaca College.