Stanza - Artist in Residence, Plymouth Arts Centre and i-DAT, University of Plymouth

Residency: Plymouth Arts Centre and i-DAT, February 2008
Exhibition: Visitors to the Gallery, Plymouth Arts Centre, March/April 2008Artist: Stanza

During February 2008, Stanza took up residence at Plymouth Arts Centre. Stanza particularly asked to work in a gallery space in order to consider the way that his work could be exhibited. The residency gave rise to two new pieces Visitors to the Gallery (which forms the exhibition) and Gallery which is yet to be shown.

Drawing on Stanza’s previous work as Research Fellow at Goldsmiths College London Visitors to the Gallery uses existing video footage from Plymouth Arts Centre’s CCTV system alongside webcams and sensors of the artist’s own positioning. These in turn are linked to a custom made piece of software and the internet. The cameras pick up and monitor visitors to the gallery and this data provides multiple images for projection. As a visitor enters the projection space/gallery their motion and proximity to the sensors in the space affects how the images are projected. In this way the visitors to the gallery add to the work and influence how the images (of the other visitors to the gallery) are projected. This is an elegant system that asks us to inquire about our relationship with CCTV and the multiple images that we as individuals unwittingly make on a day to day basis as the subjects of surveillance. Intelligent surveillance systems are now programmed to recognise ‘suspicious’ behaviour in public places. In Visitors to the Gallery, Stanza looks at how we can influence the way that CCTV is used. Maybe even taking a creative rather than a policing approach to the medium.

This piece is one of many that maps surveillance systems of all kinds that can be found on Stanza’s website (see below) and data mines information bases on the web. His world is one where surveillance and data is made to look beautiful taking the viewer away from the mundanity of surveillance images and creating an aesthetic of control devices.

Stanza is an internationally award winning artist whose work has previously been shown at Tate Britain, Watershed and Venice Biennale. He is currently developing a new body of work for international touring including new versions of the pieces made for Plymouth Arts Centre.

The exhibition is co-curated by Distributed South partners SCAN, Space Media, Plymouth Arts Centre and i-DAT.

Images courtesy of Stanza,

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