Austrian artist Manu Luksch recently completed and is now showing the movie Faceless, comprised entirely of CCTV footage from London. The UK Data Protection Act gives individuals the right to access personal data held in computer filing systems, including CCTV footage. At 50 minutes in length, it is the first film that has been made entirely out of CCTV footage. According to the synopsis:
“In a society under the reformed ‘Real-Time’ Calendar, without history nor future, everybody is faceless. A woman panics when she wakes up one day with a face. With the help of the Spectral Children she slowly finds out more about the lost power and history of the human face and begins the search for its future.”
This is a fascinating example of how one may sidestep the usual privacy/control/security debate and look at the inherent opportunities of surveillance, particularly huge systems like the one found in London. My architectural thesis project similarly sought to take advantage of surveillance technologies and cultural obsessions of the media image for new explorations in new media art. It will be interesting to see how Faceless is received and what future projects it may inspire.