Watching You, Watching Me
This project, entitled “Watching You, Watching Me”, considers the correlation between public surveillance systems and the act of observation. The objective of “Watching You, Watching Me” is to question the mystique of security cameras, by placing the public/viewer in a place of observation that counteracts the traditional dynamic of public surveillance as a privatized form of control. The project is intended to provoke questions related to surveillance and the act of observation, including “Where does observation take place?”, “What is observed?”, and “Who participates in observation?”; but does not intend to provide a conclusive resolution on the topics.
Formally, “Watching You, Watching Me” involves two photographic elements. The first element of “Watching You, Watching Me” is comprised of photographs of publicly accessible security cameras, the lenses of which have been fixated within a circular form. The resulting images of security camera lenses are abstracted due to their shape, clarity, and inaccessibility. Within the security camera images there is a compression of three-dimensional space, resulting in the convergence of the external world (represented by reflections), the external surface of the security camera lenses, and the internal components of the security cameras. These security camera images are not intended to replicate what each security camera sees, but rather to provide ambiguous glimpses of reality, that allow the viewer to make their own interpretation of what security cameras observe.
The second element of “Watching You, Watching Me” is a documentary-style photograph of a security control room, which presents an attendant awash in the light from an array of six monitors. The photograph of the security control room is included to provide an internal perspective of the observational dialog that “Watching You, Watching Me” engages with conceptually. As with the security camera images, the control room photograph is not intended to provide a literal representation of what public surveillance systems observe, but rather to provide the viewer with a liminal place to consider the relationship between public surveillance and observation.
Jake Greenup is a Canadian artist/designer. In his artistic practice Greenup takes a conceptual approach to photography, creating work that investigates a range of themes such as time, memory, perception, commercial discourse, domesticity, and artistic process. In his commercial practice Greenup imbues his work with a technical clarity that provides viewers with concise compositions and referential designs.
Greenup works in both digital and analog formats, creating images that aesthetically vary between commercial, dead-pan, and abstract modes of representation. Works by Greenup have taken form as prints, books, moving images, and interactive media.