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01/19/2017 01:02:28 PM · #1
Here’s an interesting diversion, seeing as the current interest is where’s the border between photography and art, and does it overlap at all?

It’s a series called Surveillance Landscapes, by Marcus DeSieno.

He has hacked into various surveillance cameras, CCTV and webcams to grab still images that he has turned into intentionally negligent, ambiguous landscapes.

I think they’re interesting – actually quite beautiful – as pictures, but the questions raised by the artist with these images are more interesting still.

Is it photography if he has stolen the images (in one sense of the word, he has certainly “taken” them)?

Is it original art if he has imposed his personal transformative influence on someone else’s photographs?

Are they someone else’s photographs at all? Could it be that public surveillance images are nobody’s photographs? Or possibly everybody’s photographs?

Only one question has a self-evident answer: it is indeed art. Photographic art. He has offered an answer to the eternal question that drives all worthy, durable art: “What happens if …?”

Art is transformative. It’s a new way of depicting the familiar. A different door into a room that we thought we knew well, and then a different view out of the window within.

Is it not?

01/19/2017 01:15:32 PM · #2
I'D agree with that. It's definitely art. And that's a fascinating series. Mesmerizing, some archetypal images. The sourcing of them from cctv feeds is irrelevant to me.
01/19/2017 01:46:51 PM · #3
Originally posted by ubique:



Art is transformative. It’s a new way of depicting the familiar. A different door into a room that we thought we knew well, and then a different view out of the window within.


I appreciate this comment and the introduction to Marcus DiSieno. The photographs are wonderful no matter how they were made.

Message edited by tate - fixed quote.
01/19/2017 02:54:08 PM · #4
Thanks for posting this.

Message edited by author 2017-01-19 15:09:19.
01/19/2017 03:14:27 PM · #5
From Pixelpig: Wait a minute..."I hack into surveillance cameras, public webcams, & CCTV feeds "??? What? Is hacking a legitimate artistic expression?

Yep, I agree 100%. Found images, images used by permission, common commons, etc, etc. Those are fair game. Unlocking someone's private property and walking off with their property (images) is simply not civilized or lawful. Go the extra mile and seek permission before using images that belong elsewhere.
01/19/2017 03:39:09 PM · #6
Originally posted by sfalice:

From Pixelpig: Wait a minute..."I hack into surveillance cameras, public webcams, & CCTV feeds "??? What? Is hacking a legitimate artistic expression?

Yep, I agree 100%. Found images, images used by permission, common commons, etc, etc. Those are fair game. Unlocking someone's private property and walking off with their property (images) is simply not civilized or lawful. Go the extra mile and seek permission before using images that belong elsewhere.


But those surveillance cameras, CCTV filming by the government or whoever do not ask our permission to film us in the first place. It's fair game as far as I can see.

I'm reminded of this quote by Banksy (about graffiti and advertising)

'People are taking the piss out of you everyday. They butt into your life, take a cheap shot at you and then disappear. They leer at you from tall buildings and make you feel small. They make flippant comments from buses that imply you're not sexy enough and that all the fun is happening somewhere else. They are on TV making your girlfriend feel inadequate. They have access to the most sophisticated technology the world has ever seen and they bully you with it. They are The Advertisers and they are laughing at you. You, however, are forbidden to touch them. Trademarks, intellectual property rights and copyright law mean advertisers can say what they like wherever they like with total impunity. FUCK THAT. Any advert in a public space that gives you no choice whether you see it or not is yours. It's yours to take, re-arrange and re-use. You can do whatever you like with it. Asking for permission is like asking to keep a rock someone just threw at your head. You owe the companies nothing. Less than nothing, you especially don't owe then any courtesy. They owe you. They have re-arranged the world to put themselves in front of you. They never asked for your permission, don't even start asking for theirs.
01/19/2017 03:49:42 PM · #7
art is transgressive
01/19/2017 04:56:01 PM · #8


Paul, had I heard “ a different door into a room we thought we knew well” I never would have submitted the
cringe worthy image that I did. I would be an artist if you were around. Thanks for DeSieno’s work and the
debate around them. I think the clandestine aspect makes them even more beautiful and intriguing.
01/19/2017 05:31:53 PM · #9
Funny that some get hung up on the word "hack", likely a result of the current political climate more than a real understanding of what it means in its entirety. It could be as simple as hitting Cmd-I on a webpage to find the feed URL being displayed on a public page so as to monitor it in a way that allows a full screen, full-res image to be displayed and captured (the same way it allows me to access and save the base image file of anything displayed here during voting, or on any other right-click disabled website).

I've experienced a lot of art that is based on images not taken by the artist. Some appropriated from mass media (magazines, newspapers, etc.) and incorporated in a way that manipulates the original meaning, others from other artists that sometimes do the same and other times border on overt plagiarism (eg. Richard Prince). I suppose which it is matters not if it invokes the reaction desired by the artist. I suppose I lack the vision to subvert another artist's work, but I don't necessarily stand opposed to it. In this case, and in the age of a virtual universe to explore, I see little wrong with using an intentional screen grab as your own. Is it "photography"? I'd argue it's not, but I won't berate someone for saying otherwise. It's certainly art of a form.

What strikes me is, as was said in another thread, that regardless of how it is categorized or recognized it would still score in the high-4 to low-5 range in a monthly Free Study here.

Message edited by author 2017-01-19 17:34:20.
01/19/2017 07:19:50 PM · #10
Originally posted by JakeKurdsjuk:



What strikes me is, as was said in another thread, that regardless of how it is categorized or recognized it would still score in the high-4 to low-5 range in a monthly Free Study here.


I never understand these kind of statements. What difference does it make if it scores poorly on DPC?
01/19/2017 08:04:57 PM · #11
Originally posted by sfalice:

From Pixelpig: Wait a minute..."I hack into surveillance cameras, public webcams, & CCTV feeds "??? What? Is hacking a legitimate artistic expression?

Yep, I agree 100%. Found images, images used by permission, common commons, etc, etc. Those are fair game. Unlocking someone's private property and walking off with their property (images) is simply not civilized or lawful. Go the extra mile and seek permission before using images that belong elsewhere.


What I was thinking is--some might consider hacking (or what ever you might call it) to be an act of creative mayhem.
And it may be considered creative to make use of such found images to suit your artistic purpose. Kind of like making art with found objects.

If the image was not captured as a result of a human finger on the shutter button, can it be copyright protected? Does it belong to anyone? Is it a found object?

Message edited by author 2017-01-19 20:17:30.
01/19/2017 11:41:51 PM · #12
Originally posted by pixelpig:

If the image was not captured as a result of a human finger on the shutter button, can it be copyright protected? Does it belong to anyone? Is it a found object?

Would you make a distinction between, say, hacking someone's baby cam and hacking an automatic traffic cam?
01/20/2017 01:41:12 AM · #13
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

Originally posted by pixelpig:

If the image was not captured as a result of a human finger on the shutter button, can it be copyright protected? Does it belong to anyone? Is it a found object?

Would you make a distinction between, say, hacking someone's baby cam and hacking an automatic traffic cam?


No. Surveillance of random cars or surveillance of one individual both involve the same expectations--the entity doing the surveillance expects to control how & when the images are used. That expectation may seem foolish when the images are online (which is a public, shared space) but it's a valid expectation. As opposed to images, say, broadcast on tv. Which explains why surveillance images broadcast on tv are usually on the evening news. It's late, hope I expressed my thoughts OK.

Message edited by author 2017-01-20 01:42:22.
01/20/2017 06:04:19 AM · #14
It definitely is transformative, probably could call it collaborative with the other, where the other is insignificant in its' origin but crucial to its capacity to inspire the unknown. Good use of classic composition, the handbag photog model set would reluctantly adopt it if it paid enough and oh ah themselves into elitist tolerance of testing the boundaries in the guise of 'private work'. But not being of that calibre I'd be seen as an envious amateur. But I like this shit. It inspires, it evokes, it isn't necessarily culturally confirmative and it has an implied basis of contempt. Eat that art.
01/20/2017 02:11:55 PM · #15
Originally posted by 2mccs:

Originally posted by JakeKurdsjuk:



What strikes me is, as was said in another thread, that regardless of how it is categorized or recognized it would still score in the high-4 to low-5 range in a monthly Free Study here.


I never understand these kind of statements. What difference does it make if it scores poorly on DPC?


It makes no difference to the work in question. What it does is point to the glaring lack of perceived quality for this type of image in the age of a billion photos a day, even among those who consider themselves to be photographers.

Message edited by author 2017-01-20 14:14:00.
01/20/2017 02:30:10 PM · #16
Originally posted by JakeKurdsjuk:

Originally posted by 2mccs:

Originally posted by JakeKurdsjuk:



What strikes me is, as was said in another thread, that regardless of how it is categorized or recognized it would still score in the high-4 to low-5 range in a monthly Free Study here.


I never understand these kind of statements. What difference does it make if it scores poorly on DPC?


It makes no difference to the work in question. What it does is point to the glaring lack of perceived quality for this type of image in the age of a billion photos a day, even among those who consider themselves to be photographers.


Thank you, that makes sense now.
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