Surveillant Architectures Multimedia Performance

A discussion and production seminar, geared to critically engage contemporary surveillance and control measures in artistic practice.

The seminar deals with how public and private space is created, used and controlled through surveillance and security measures, and how room for play and action is being established. We negotiate issues of visibility and invisibility, hiding and reconnaissance.

The focus is on the development of new methodologies, identities, and narratives, especially those that cross diverse media in a performative way.

The seminar takes place on Wednesdays from 10-13h in room2, opposite the Mensa. Check the online calendar to see the schedule. See the Surveillant Architectures Blog for news.



Summer Term 2020: Space Lab

The sky’s an unusual colour
The weather is doing unusual things
And our leaders aren’t even pretending not to be demons
So where is the good heart to go but inwards?
Why not lock all the doors and bolt all the windows?
All I am are my doubts and suspicions
I against you against we against them

(Kate Tempest, 2019)

Continuing from last semester's live situative set-ups, we'll look at space and its potentials for
> adventure, risk, unpredictability, proximity, intimacy and presence.

Taking into account the various understandings of the concept of distance that were brought about by worldwide realtime communication over the last 160 years, we'll foreground central issues like accessibility, safety and security, and how to (re-)establish room for trust, play and maneuver.

What are the possible ways to query space, taking the role of the observer or the associate, the insider?

Winter Term 2019/20: face off: Multimedia and Performance

The seminar will explore the unique potential of live situative set ups. We will open a way into the creation of real-time art work like live performance, intervention, installation and other real time experiences. Topics covered include adventure, risk, unpredictability, proximity, intimacy and presence.

Cryptoparty @ Glasmoog: 26 November 2019
Mid Term Review: 3/4 December 2019

Workshop: archival strategies


Dominique Gonzales-Foerster


Summer Term 2019: Surveillance 102: The Golden Age

Building on the subject matter covered in Surveillance 101, we take Gilles Deleuze’s “Postscript on the Societies of Control” as a starting point to address contemporary modes of surveillance: algorithmic, fluid, social, multifocal, networked. We’ll look at the different forms that systematic observation takes today and how it can be used towards artistic ends.


Hands-on Surveillance & Counter-Surveillance techniques
Archival practices
Prison field trip (TBC - seems hard to get in)
Mid Term Review: 4. June 2019

More info and readings see our blog​​​​​​​

Winter Term 2018/19: Surveillance 101

This semester will begin with a historical survey of the field of surveillance studies, including its beginnings, art, engineering and theory. Selections of key historical and theoretical texts, samples of empirical research and an introduction to the debates about privacy, networks and power will be explored. Readings in philosophical positions include Foucault, David Lyon, Steve Mann, Ken Goldberg and David Murakami Wood.  A study of film, art, and scientific treatments of the theme help map the differences and tensions in urban space today.  

Surveillance 101 will be followed by Surveillance 102 in cooperation with Department of Sound in summer 2019.

Workshops, Archive preview, Mid Term Review, Aula screenings and project production.

Gäste: Niels Bonde, artist Copenhagen

Field trip: Berlin (November)

The seminar will include cooperation with academic partners at the University of Copenhagen

Summer Term 2018: Speculative Voice Applications

The seminar will consider voice and sound and its techno-political implications in the context of social control today. Speculation is considered a raw material.

Artists covered this semester use voice to connect separate objects and spaces, to disorient and create doubt.

Artists covered include: Ale Bachlechner, Judith Barry, Francis Ford Coppola, Jill Magid, Kerstin Ergenzinger, Stephanie Glauber, Vito Acconci.

Voice can be an object of study or a mode of inquiry inside or outside “other” forms and media. The interwoven worlds of computational, social, architectural, aural and observational surveillance may be used as a base.

Projects can include those developing a single voice, reclaiming a found voice, or a new exchanging of different voices.

It’s possible to be heard without vocalizing. Further elements toward production of projects can include: Installation, scenography, writing, walking in the city, film, television, mobile devices, musical instruments, telepresence, remote sensing data collection, 3D modeling etc.

Ale Bechlecher
Kerstin Ergenzinger
John Miller and Aura Rosenberg

Field trips:
German Courtroom
Individual Artificial Intelligence audio museum tour
Corporate towers
Local Prison

Winter Term 2017/18: Real, Fake and the Imaginary

Following on from "the Body and the Network", we explore historical and contemporary discourses and productions of "real" and "fake", as well as and their development into various cultural movements and commodities. Starting from personal observation, we focus on the slide from real to fake, and back. What new relationships are there to be had with the fake?

Wednesdays 10-13h @ room2

First day of seminar: 18 October 2017 (see the calendar here)

Mid Term Review: 5/6 December 2017

Gäste / invited speakers:

Artist Kerstin Ergenzinger

Journalist Petra Tabeling

Sociologist Dirk Baecker

Artist Tetjus Blendermann

Summer Term 2017: The Body and the Network

Building on the winter term's „Systematic Observation and Recall“ the seminar will look at body extensions in societies of control and how they manifest in networked media. This includes art works, network activity, performances or videos that reconfigure, refocuse and recontextualize current technologies of connection and display.

We will investigate new transient cultures of extending and marking the body for security, surveillance, pleasure and storytelling, and contemporary platforms for live display including the theatre, the databank and the MAX Patch.

Raspberry Pi Basics
A practical workshop with help from Martin Nawrath to configure and install network devices with the Raspberry Pi as a basis. Aimed at all experience levels, the workshop will introduce the basics of networking technology, the command line, scripting and automation, as well as working with external sensors.

Media for Live Events
Building on this, there will later on in the term be the opportunity to work with Prof. Larry Shea, from School of Drama, Carnegie Mellon University. In this several-weeks long workshop we‘ll use the new skills to imagine and build new networked and sensor-based set-ups for installations, performances and open scenarios, working towards Rundgang.

Mid Term Review: 9 &10 May 2017

Excursion to opening days of documenta 14

Required reading:
- Flesh and Stone, The Body and the City in Western Civilization, Richard Sennett, New York, 1994
- Nervous Systems, HKW Berlin, 2016, introduction by Anselm Franke, Stephanie Hankey and Marek Tuszynski (online)
- Out of Body, Skulptur Projekte Münster, 2016: The Body of the Web (online)
- Surveillance, Performance, Self-Surveillance. Interview with Jill Magid by Geert Lovink (online)

Gäste / invited speakers
Geert Lovink: Medienkatastrophe, 20.4., 19 h, Aula || video
Simon Denny: Medienkatastrophe, 26.4., 19 h, Aula
Mark Bain
Prof. Larry Shea (June-July)

Winter Term 2016/17: Systematic Observation and Recall

Wednesdays 10 – 13 h, room 2, Filzengraben 2a

A discussion and production seminar, geared to critically engage contemporary surveillance and control measures in artistic practice.

The seminar deals with how room for play, action and critique is being established by artists and filmmakers today.  Using public and private space as examples, issues of “controlled states” under surveillance and security will be examined.

The focus is on the development of new methodologies, identities, and narratives, especially those that cross diverse media in a performative way.  

Required reading includes Foucault‘s ‚Discipline and Punish‘, Deleuze‘s ‚Postscript on the Societies of Control‘ and the introductory essay to HKW's "Nervous Systems" catalogue.

Drone workshop
Mid Term Review: 6. & 7. December 2016

Summer Term 2016: Surveillance is the Business Model of the Internet, and Other Hollywood Stories

Discussion and production seminar, geared to critically engage contemporary issues in artistic praxis today.

The seminar intends to focus on the effects of observational technologies and recording strategies used in projects.  Structures investigated include: moving image; video “labs”;  internet data accumulators; performance; installation; and surveillant objects.

Mid Term Review May 10 & 11, 2016
Cryptoparty May 19, 2016 (in collaboration with Glasmoog and Jonas Hansen)
Drone workshop
Final project

Women under Surveillance Symposium

The two-day Women under Surveillance Symposium took place on December 2 and 3, 2015.

For more info please see Video documentation to follow.

Winter term 2015/16: Up in the Air

The rise of consumer-grade drones brought an avalanche of bird's eye view footage into everyday media. A formerly privileged view has been made available to the masses, extending into airspace one of the core principles of the Internet: Transparency goes both ways. "Technology magnifies power in both directions" (Bruce Schneier). 

We quickly become habituated to seeing ourselves from an overhead perspective, and we start thinking about our bodies as figures on a grid. The view from above is inseparable from its use for mapping (with the utilitarian, market and military implications that this carries). As more and more of modernity and surveillance goes from liquid (Zygmunt Bauman/ David Lyon) to vaporous (uncertainty/ The Cloud), we get used to the idea that there is activity overhead, looking down on us. While it is entirely possibly that this isn't new at all, and just an update of  the old fashioned all seeing eye of god, the disconnect of the fixed position of the controlling body and its multiple, mobile, remote controlled viewpoints is central to the argument.

Summer term 2015: Women under Surveillance II

Continuing the previous seminar, we will look at the role of women in the development of techno culture, leading up to the current state of ubiquitous surveillance.

Ada Lovelace
Cornelia Sollfrank
Hito Steyerl
Joan Jonas
Kristin Lucas
Laura Poitras
Martha Rosler
Sophie Calle
Suzanne Treister

15. to 17. May 2015, Chaos Cologne: „Edge of Control“
The first Chaos Cologne conference, a cooperation of KHM and Chaos Computer Club Köln:
Workshops and talks, exchange and networking,
keynotes by the artist Cornelia Sollfrank 

Zielinski, Siegfried,  Deep Time of the Media. Towards an Archeology of Hearing and Seeing by Technica Means. / Archäologie der Medien: zur Tiefenzeit des technischen Hörens und Sehens
Signatur MED B.1 - 18

Continuing the previous seminar, we will look at the role of women in the development of techno culture, leading up to the current state of ubiquitous surveillance.

15. to 17. May, Chaos Cologne „Edge of Control“
The first Chaos Cologne conference, a cooperation of KHM and Chaos Computer Club Köln: Workshops and talks, exchange and networking, keynote by artist Cornelia Sollfrank

Winter term 2014/15: Women under Surveillance

Summer term 2014: Liberation Movements

Winter term 2013/14: The Future

Summer term 2013: The Surge

Pseudo-random selection of student projects

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