Exposed

Voyeurism, Surveillance, and the Camera Since 1870

Marie Sester, ACCESS (installation view), 2003; computers, cameras, robotic spotlight, robotic acoustic beam, internet, custom software; courtesy the artist; © 2010 Marie Sester Julia Scher, Predictive Engineering 2 (screenshot),1998; web project, Collection SFMOMA, gift of the artist; © 2010 Julia Scher
Marie Sester, ACCESS (installation view), 2003; computers, cameras, robotic spotlight, robotic acoustic beam, Internet, custom software; courtesy the artist; © 2010 Marie Sester Julia Scher, Predictive Engineering 2 (screenshot), 1998; web project; Collection SFMOMA, gift of the artist; © 2010 Julia Scher

SFMOMA's Under Surveillance!

Online and on site, experience two web-based artworks that playfully investigate tracking SFMOMA visitors, as part of Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance, and the Camera Since 1870.

Control the spotlight in the Haas Atrium in Marie Sester's ACCESS.

Explore the fictional world of Julia Scher's Predictive Engineering 2.

About the Artworks

Marie Sester

ACCESS, 2003
Computers, cameras, robotic spotlight, robotic acoustic beam, Internet, custom software
Supported by Eyebeam, New York, and by the Creative Capital Foundation, New York
Courtesy the artist

As museum visitors walk across SFMOMA's Haas Atrium, a robotic spotlight automatically targets certain individuals, following them through the public space. Who is tracking them? Why are they being tracked? They don't know that users of the web project ACCESS have spotlight control and an overhead webcam view. They are also unaware that they are the only ones who can hear sound from an acoustic beam triggered by the website. Instead of choosing to step into the spotlight, the "performer" in this case appears to be chosen by it. Sester's installation investigates the dynamic between the visibility and invisibility of surveillance practices like data collection. Applying web, computer, sound, and lighting technologies, ACCESS dramatizes our cultural obsessions with control and celebrity.

Julia Scher

Predictive Engineering 2, 1998
Web project
Produced in collaboration with Architekton
Collection SFMOMA, gift of the artist, 2008

Predictive Engineering 2 wryly addresses the design and operational protocols of electronic security technologies and the dangerous implications of their use for social control. The user clicks on an array of animated graphic symbols and maze-like levels of Scher's fantasy vision of SFMOMA under surveillance. Simulating a monitoring system complete with security warnings, error messages, and data calculation, the work uses imagery and language suggestive of the human body being probed, analyzed, and conditioned.

SFMOMA began to host online artworks soon after launching its website in 1995, with Predictive Engineering 2 as its first commissioned web project. For Scher's 1998 solo exhibition, she updated and reconfigured an earlier, site-specific multimedia installation, Predictive Engineering (1993), for the new museum building. She developed the current online project to accompany and expand on this second iteration of the work, in which museum visitors in the fourth-floor media galleries interacted with microphones and closed-circuit television cameras. Shown on monitors, the live footage was blended with staged surveillance scenes using actors in non-gallery and hidden spaces throughout the building. The "security console" section of this online work features a selection of these performance clips.

 


Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance, and the Camera Since 1870 is organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Tate Modern. Major support for the exhibition is provided by the Trellis Fund and the Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation. Generous support is provided by Linda and Jon Gruber. Additional support is provided by Randi and Bob Fisher, Nion McEvoy, Kate and Wesley Mitchell, Susan Swig, Lucinda Watson, and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy/Consulate of France in San Francisco.