Surveillance series

Surveillance Series from the Shanghai Natural History Museum shows a series of hand-crafted exhibits from the museum of marine and other animal life, that express the fear and paranoia that can result from surveillance by the operations of institutions and the fabric of communities.

Following on from the work of Foucault, Australian sociologists Barry Hindness and Mitchell Dean, see government as a pervasive and heterogeneous activity undertaken at a multiplicity of sites, where practices can be regarded as:

Complex assemblages of problematisations, modes of reasoning, techniques and technologies, the formation of identities and agencies and the investment of such practices with different kinds of ethos that gives them definite orientation.(1)

The approach of these Australian sociologists differs from the more conventional study of political and social institutions. Rather than regarding institutions and their power as the condition or the cause of governmental practices, they regard such practices as the outcome of temporary and changing assemblages. The approach regards these institutions as the locus of multiple kinds of political and programmatic thought from a wide range of professionals, experts and specialists.(2) The display-makers and curators communicate knowledge about these idiosyncratic flows, reporting on possible enabled positions of being able to predict individual decision-maker actions and policy development.

(1) Mitchell Dean and Barry Hindness, (eds) Governing Australia: Studies in Contemporary Rationalities of Government (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 12.

(2) Dean and Hindness, Governing Australia, 9.

Australia-China Council residency works Snap to Grid Los Angeles Centre for Digital Art Los Angeles, America and Artists Against Sedition,  Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre Sydney (2006).