Security control is a ubiquitous feature of London’s urban landscape. The city has one of the highest densities of government surveillance cameras in the world. Besides this, there are scores of private cameras, in shops, parking lots, public-private spaces, etc. Despite their dubious record in helping to prevent or solve crime, surveillance cameras spy on an average Londoner around 300 times per day according to the NGO Big Brother Watch.
Apart from the cameras, public address systems on public transport and in other places where large numbers of people pass, are used to broadcast regular messages about how and how not to behave.
Secured by Design creates a simple yet poignant image of this climate of all-pervasive ambient fear. The video is made up of hundreds of photos of surveillance cameras taken in various locations across London, with a soundtrack made from recordings of various public security announcements. The cameras, slowly spinning in search for potential subjects to spy on, hover at the centre of the screen like an ominous presence, while the background changes continuously. Wherever you are in London, someone is watching you.
Commissioned by Heller Entrerprises
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