Artist’s Unknown-Self-Night Watch
text for exhibition E-Night Watch, 2023, Koganecho Bazzarr 2023
The title of E-Night Watch came from Night Watch(1642) by a Dutch painter, Rembrandt, a painting of a matchlock vigilante. His piece symbolizes the Dutch golden age after its independence and was offered by the captain of Matchlock Vigilante for their portrait. This piece tells us about the daytime scene, however was considered that was a night scene about the time when the group was sent out, because of its faded color and title. Actually, vigilantes had fewer chances to dispatch when the painting was finished. We can find it as the ambiguity of today’s society, that the aggression to beat the bad ones, but fades away as a relic when the time of peace comes. The question is what is our safety myth, and how much we cost for it. So taking over for neighborhood watch in mid-century, I exhibit this time to focus on the safety and the aggression of the security camera, a technology for self-defending, which is installed in every single house and company building.
In the U.K., it is estimated that over 6,000,000 security cameras are working, and 2,000,000 of them were settled after the London Olympics in 2012(i). Following London, the number of camera settings in other cities are increasing, and more than 5,000,000 of them are working in Japan(ii). Looking at the effect of the measures, the number of crimes was downed to half after the security camera setting. Every time we have international and festival-like events such as summits, Olympics, and world expos, to keep cities symbolically safe, the negative elements, crimes, poverty, and other unclean images are excluded as the town’s noises. So what is, and for whom, the clean image, safety, and security of the city? On the other hand, when security power goes by too much, it is suspicious that the security regarding civilians must be protected as potential crimes. In 2021, JR East train company decided that they would detect a person’s criminal record by using a security camera(iii). However, they stopped this plan finally because of the viewpoint of human rights and social agreement. The original plan was to collate a database of the police station and criminal records of people passing by, and to check their activities and who would be potential criminals. This sounds like such a Sci-Fi story is now realized by existing technology, which means we have to consider the moral inclination of the technology more than before.
And now, these stories remind me of a noise canceler type headphone as well known in the audio technology field. This headphone seals up listeners’ ears by cups shutting out sounds from outside, and it has a microphone inside, which checks sound waves of noises and immediately generates antiphase sound waves to mute noises from outside. The sound is shaking airwaves, so if we could add opposite shaking air movements to kill them. Thus technologically it’s possible to make artificial silence inside of headphone, and a listener just can listen to sounds from a music player.
E-Night Watch, exhibition, Koganecho Bazzarr 2023
iv) David Lyon, The Culture of Surveillance: Watching as a Way of Life, Polity Press, 2018.