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Signs of surveillance

Buzzo, Daniel

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Rae Earnshaw

Susan Liggett

Peter Excell

Daniel Thalmann


This writing discusses the challenges of working with complex digital in- formation, visual images, meta-data and temporal and geo-spatial information, as raw materials for artistic expression. In the chapter the reader will have an insight into the thought process and working practice, artistic and technical, of forming in- formation into a recognisable body of work and processing both the content and the form of the work into an emotional, reflective experience. Discussing the challenges of working with external, commercial software frameworks and web services and the challenge of dealing with the brittleness of digital things but also the ’semantic affordance’ offered by computer systems in working at a conceptual level with art materials. The ’Signs of Surveillance’ project originated as a photographic obser- vation and collation activity in early 2015 and has grown to a complex digital web and installation live visualisation project. Since that time thousands of photographs of signs of surveillance, those warning signs indicating an area or activity is being monitored by video-camera, have been captured in more than 15 countries includ- ing Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, Ko- rea, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and UK. This chapter dis- cusses the development of one aspect of this multi-part work, dealing directly with managing and manipulating a large body of digital data and working with complex visualisation systems and online and offline digital distribution technology.


Buzzo, D. (2020). Signs of surveillance. In R. Earnshaw, S. Liggett, P. Excell, & D. Thalmann (Eds.), Technology, Design and the Arts—Opportunities and Challenges (159-181). Springer.

Publication Date Jun 23, 2020
Deposit Date Feb 10, 2021
Publicly Available Date Jan 11, 2023
Publisher Springer
Pages 159-181
Series Title Springer Series on Cultural Computing
Series ISSN 2195-9056; 2195-9064
Edition 1st
Book Title Technology, Design and the Arts—Opportunities and Challenges
Chapter Number 10
ISBN 9783030420963
Public URL
Additional Information More information about this series at


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