Constant Surveillance


Fortification plan of Coevorden (The Netherlands), laid out in a radial pattern within polygonal fortifications and extensive outer earthworks as reconstructed in the early seventeenth century by Maurice of Nassau, Prince of Orange

Under Constant Surveillance

by Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy, Trevor Paglen, Laura Poitras

Some months ago, curator Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy, an agent of dOCUMENTA (13), had a conversation with artist and writer Trevor Paglen and filmmaker and journalist Laura Poitras. They met in a high-rise building in downtown New York city. It was a clear, sunny day, even Governors Island was visible from there. Located to the South of Manhattan, Governors Island is the site of a now inoperative military fortification built in the 18th century to defend New York city’s harbor. Inspired by the sight of that building, Sofía, Trevor and Laura’s conversation made reference to architectures of siege, to spaces being besieged, such as the Internet, and along the way they discussed surveillance, archives and the grammar of images.

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