Current (Dezember)

Veranstaltungen Lichtenberg Studios
Türrschmidtstr. 24

Eröffnung der Ausstellung
im Cafe des Stadthauses (EG)

Samstag, 17. November um 19 Uhr
bis 16. Dezember 2018

Uwe Jonas, Renée Ridgway
Der Geist des Überwachens

The Snowden releases (2013) have revealed that not only the NSA and other governmental institutions worldwide collect citizen data, but corporations are also complicit in the data business. As Google builds its massive treasure trove of user data, it dictates what data is collated and how that data is organised. According to Shoshana Zuboff, this ‘logic of accumulation’ of user data comprises contemporary ‘surveillance capitalism’, producing its own social relations and with that its conceptions and uses of authority and power. However, ‘information gathering’ of citizens (or nowadays users) data is not innovative––the past decades private and state actors worldwide continuously carried out practices of searching, observing and archiving. Since 2016, Uwe Jonas and Renée Ridgway have been researching in the archives, methods and equipment of the former Stasi, whose headquarters are not far from Lichtenberg Studios, where Jonas works as artist/curator and Ridgway has been a guest artist. This first iteration of their investigation brings together hand painted prints of photos, altered, scaled-up images and a video that uses some of the same Stasi hidden camera techniques, to form the exhibition.

Uwe Jonas’s works are extrapolated from the IM (Inoffizielle Mitarbeiter), or ‘unofficial collaborators’ files that were categorised into security, special, operative, conspirative––there was even a subdivision for informers who instructed informers. The available files cover the period from 1960 to 1990, with a focus on the ‘80s. Contentwise they reflect economic crime, industrial espionage, international politics and social movements that were understood as counterrevolutionary or having deviant behavior. Jonas exposes specific drawings of house plans, street maps, censored texts and personal descriptions made by the IMs that were used as part of their surveillance methods.

Renée Ridgway’s installation references the historical ‘technologies’ (hidden cameras, wearable microphones, human observation) of surveillance of the former East German Stasi. Hand-painted images portray the various degrees of obscuration through an analogue filtering technique, whilst the video stages a ‘mise en abyme’ of DIY (Do It Yourself) technology used both then and now. By alluding to the ‘hidden infrastructures’ of spying and monitoring of past environments, this installation simultaneously conjures up modern technologies of self-surveillance in a society of control.

November, 2018