Twelve hours’ worth of video footage that looks as if shot by surveillance cameras at London’s Piccadilly Circus is put up on the Internet (http://www.exhaustingacrowd.com/). By clicking on people, animals, the street, garbage cans or various other elements in the picture, users can post comments on what is happening at the respective place.
The title is a reference to the work “An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris” by Georges PEREC, a writer who is primarily known for his daring literary experiments. In that work, PEREC paid special attention to cars, people, clouds and other occurrences one normally doesn’t notice, and attempted to write down all those things as he saw them during three days he stayed at a certain location on a square in the middle of Paris. “Exhausting a Crowd” can be understood as a platform for all individuals that access the website to ultimately do the same thing that PEREC attempted to do all by himself.
The UK is said to be the country with the most advanced surveillance system in the world. Most of the comments posted on the website are innocent messages, but they remind us of the facts that ordinary citizens are constantly subject to surveillance in public spaces, and, on the other hand, surveillance through unspecified anonymous users via the Internet is something that occurs day by day.
In addition to the London edition, visitors to the website can also choose a “Netherlands” version.
Collaboration and Site development: Jonas JONGEJAN
Commissioned by Victoria and Albert Museum for “All of this Belongs to You”
London: Video by Nico TURNER. Special thanks to Corinna GARDNER, Dan JOYCE, Hellicar & Lewis
Netherlands: Co-sponsored by Brakke Grond, IDFA DocLab, and V2_ Institute. Video by Daan KUYS. Special thanks to Lara COOMANS, Caspar SONNEN, Jan MISKER, Michel van DARTEL.