No, Trespassing

Fifty-five years ago, George Orwell wrote his groundbreaking novel 1984. The book's frightening conception of an omnipresent, all-powerful government that is able to control people's actions and even thoughts, has since been summarized by the well-known phrase "Big Brother is Watching You." In a thought-provoking group show at Priska Juschka Fine Art [Williamsburg, Brooklyn], entitled No, Trespassing [curated by Rebecca Uchill and Mark Sarosi], twelve artists examine the notion of contemporary security systems and Big Brother's supervision of the public domain anew.

While the artistic approaches differ immensely and include sculpture, multi-media, installation, photography, works on paper, and video, one question seems dominant: Does society embrace or fear the icons of public safety? In times when New Yorkers have become used to heavily armed military forces in any major subway station, this topic seems hotter than ever. But obviously this is not a local or an American problem, and the artists' multi-national backgrounds help to open a wide forum for discussion [...]

Bill Brown, who puts together performances for surveillance cameras in public places, introduces a different form of organized activity. Attempting to unmask the hidden recording devices, Brown leads walking tours through heavily guarded neighborhoods. For No, Trespassing Brown has constructed a map of the Williamsburg area, including the location of ninety-four surveillance cameras of which only four were installed by the New York Police Department. To learn more about how, why, and by whom these cameras might be used, information on Brown's insightful tours can be received through the gallery [...]

(Written by Stephanie Buhmann and published in the August/September 2003 issue of The Brooklyn Rail.)

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