Anita Witek (AT/UK), Surveillance Camera Players (US)
Closed Circuit Television

Public areas, underground stations, shops and banks are equipped with inconspicuous cameras recording the movements and actions of passers-by and customers and feeing them into closed circuits (camera - monitoring centre - analytical software). CCTV is most widely used in the UK where approximately 200,000 cameras are in use, a number, which is growing at a rate of 500 per week. In the centre of London it is already possible to track an individual's complete itinerary between any two points.

As a result of technological development, the performance of these systems has greatly increased. Ever since 1994, CCTV systems have been able to recognise faces and to compare them to existing samples stored in databases. Recently, systems have been developed that are capable of recognising movement and behaviour patterns. Suspicious movements set off an alarm, which allows security personnel to intervene before the suspected criminal act can be committed. CCTV is also widely used in industrial settings, where it is employed for a permanent, efficient and inconspicuous control of workers' performance.

Another field of application of CCTV is traffic control. CCTV systems capable of reading car registration numbers allow a large-scale supervision of urban traffic flow. Police not only use CCTV for a permanent and automatic search for criminals in public areas, they also promote technological improvements. Prototypes of cameras and microphones integrated into police helmets, directly transmitting data to the nearest police station, have been tested successfully.


Surveillance Camera Players

Anita Witek
<do you know where you are, do you know what you've done?>
Video, 11 min. loop, London 1998

+ several observation cameras