TalkSeePhotography – Watched!


Some of the information in this post is taken from the event description on the TalkSeePhotography event page.

A few weeks ago I went to a talk organised by  TalkSeePhotography: “a Greenhouse for photography in Scotland […] organised and exists for anyone with an interest in the medium” (TalkSeePhotography Webpage, 2016). The event was called “Watched!”  and it focused on the dynamics between surveillance, art and research. You can listen to a recording of it here.

The talk had two speakers. Dr Louise Wolthers, curator and research manager at the Hasselblad Foundation in Göteborg, Sweden talked about her research ‘WATCHED! Surveillance Art and Photography After the Millennium – Northern Europe in Focus’. Justine Gangneux, PhD candidate at the University of Glasgow, spoke about her project Surveillance Technologies under Scrutiny: the Perceptions and Experiences of Young People in Glasgow.

The session was chaired by Devin Karambelas from the University of Edinburgh. Devin is one of the key people behind the event at the 2016 Glasgow Film Festival titled “Surveillance: Now Playing” .

Discussing a range of recent cases of photographic registration together with examples of lens-based art works, Dr. Wolthers talk showed how various types of everyday surveillance becomes a constitutive part of contemporary social life. New forms of discrimination and segregation emerge as do new means of empowerment and ‘sousveillance’.”

Dr. Wolthers is a highly respected researcher whose work is regularly published internationally. Dr. Wolthers has curated exhibitions at institutions such as The National Museum of Photography and The National Gallery of Denmark. She has co- exhibitions such as ‘Lost and Found: Queerying the Archive’ (2009-2010) and ‘Places: Denmark in Transition’ (2010-2012), both of which have been exhibited internationally.

Justine talked about a participatory research project she conducted, looking at young people’s perceptions of ‘everyday encounters’ with surveillance in Glasgow. The talk drew on pictures provided by participants as well as group discussions, to critically address the dynamics of surveillance. Justine also talked about the practical and conceptual limitations attached to the project in terms of participation, photography, (dis)empowerment, and wider contribution to research.

Justine Gangneux is currently doing a PhD in sociology at Glasgow University looking at young people’s understandings of social media and peer scrutiny. Her current research focuses on social media as a mean of social sorting and of normalisation of surveillance practices in personal relationships. Her research interests include social media and new technologies, surveillance, youth studies, work/leisure, and inclusion/exclusion.

Devin Karambelas is pursuing her Masters in Film, Exhibition & Curation. She also work as a special projects coordinator at the Edinburgh Short Film Festival and a volunteer coordinator for the New Town Community Cinema, a pop-up cinema specializing in independent and art house films in Edinburgh. Before arriving in scotland she worked for Vermont Public Radio in and WGBH’s Boston Public Radio. She also interned for US Sen. Bernie Sanders right around the time of the Edward Snowden/NSA fallout.