John O’Dwyer

Sonifying Surveillance

The Sonifying Surveillance project is an exploration into our relationship with the ubiquitous nature of public surveillance camera footage. Imagery associated with public surveillance permeates all forms of media from television reports to newspaper articles and social media platforms. The imagery can be associated with a particular aesthetic as certain common compositional elements, such as a top down view of the subject, a grainy or 'poor image' and a sense that the camera is always on and constant observation are combined.

Has the omnipresence of this imagery led to an acquiescence or acceptance within society of public camera surveillance? Who is filming? Who is watching? Is it recorded and stored? Who benefits?

Foucault’s notion of the Panopticon acting as a metaphor for maintaining social control through constant observation in a contemporary society suggests that an acceptance of or submission to the pervasive nature of public video surveillance could lead to a disempowerment of the subjects.

The Sonifying Surveillance project is a digital interactive video art installation that attempts to empower users by appropriating 'found' surveillance footage and recasting it in a new light. An interactive audio/video environment immerses users in a cross modal experience where the interactive component introduces a creative element that further promotes the sense of empowerment.

John O’Dwyer