Artist’s Unknown-Self-Night Watch Kentaro TAKI

Artist’s Unknown-Self-Night Watch
Kentaro TAKI
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. 

This realization of artificial silence may be connected to the execution of social exclusivity by using any technology today. Making mosquito tones to let young people move out from the front of convenience stores, the eviction of homeless people from parks and public places by settling objects called “Exclusion Art”, these examples adapt the negative affordance which people instinctively get out from certain places without any human executioner. This tendency is now enforced with IT technology, and happening here and there, which can be named Noise Canceler Culture. This culture can kill noise not only in advance but also includes cancellation culture kills sooner something becomes an inconvenient issue by the mass media and the populace. 

Behind crimes, terrorism, and any other critical behavior in our lives, several social unstable such as poverty, and discrimination can be a trigger for them. So it is not the essential solution to cancel superficial noises without exploring radical factors. Polics must be for investigation and solve them, however, we’ve never seen it to confront them, unfortunately. If technology affordance could realize a city without crime, it must mean less peace like a paper doll without any substance. Giving cases as cream without fat, caffeine-less coffee, and nonalcohol beer, Slavoj Žižek pointed out that these exist to get rid of the negative essence which is denied by accident, and indicate that things in virtual reality become real existence in the real world. This simulacra without any reference issue seems the mega-superficial world illustrated in the film Matrix(1999). For the city without crime, also for the disease-free society, the non-casualty-war, and the painless life, without any obstacles and crises, “is it worth living in and surviving?”, that is the question of Žižek.

 E-Night Watch, exhibition, Koganecho Bazzarr 2023

 Standing on the diversity of the world, it is not simply cut out negative substance but is needed to return to the primitive viewpoint to include noise. I think it is worth it to plan how to keep our city's security not to definite noise outsiders and potential crimes rather than to get rid of them easily, if we try to do unstable praxis to bet. Our basic instinct was designed for surviving with denial of the other (erasing noises) from viewpoints of biology and psychology for sure. So when we think about it We have to face the aggression and the bellicosity inside of us, for our self secures. This controversy, without any exclusion of the others, that is to say recognizing the others in our insides for our survival, has been spoken about in the field of philosophy for a long long time. 

By the way, it doesn’t have any connection to such a huge historical issue, I, Taki in 2000, noticed the property of video which is an eye machine, and I created a self-visual-identification structure for the audience to look at themselves when they see my artwork. By adopting analog video technology, I express to show ”the others may see me like this,” or “to see activity how to see itself” by using temporary media which is different from a mirror. After that, I moved to imagine a figure with camera-head, because the camera technologically simulates the function of the eyes of the human body. With fantasizing such an imagination, it was about the time when I was wandering a city a night, I found that many video systems with camera-monitor are already installed everywhere in the city. Security cameras, when I saw them, I had an urge to accomplish an unfinished figure only has a head and an eye and is hanging down from the building. Then I started my project to give bodies for the machine only to see in the city. 

It’s actually places began in the city, S, fall 2021. It was a part of interventional art projects in the urban space, I counted how many security cameras were set and where to be in the city named S, and I reacted for them to one-way watch pedestrians and inhabitants for 24 hours a day. It was to keep a balance of seeing, so I intently act as while the security camera watches us, we may watch them. That’s why their boy plate was made with a reflecting material to show how security cameras see us. In the phase of researching this project, I temporarily put a mirror plate under a security camera and took photos and videos of it. Just the beginning of it, the S-city policeman stopped me to ask what was going on. On suss of Minor Offensive Act on my action, but after two-time hearings and confiscation of physical evidence as mirror plates, I was not sued for any crime and the policemen returned the plates finally. In the visual evidence from the security cameras, still images were extracted, which showed Taki moved from one camera to the next. It was unexpected art documentation by cops, the law enforcers. 

To stand on a viewpoint of the controlling society by double phases as information way and physical way, surveillance methods that the authority watches the nations, becomes now old school, the much worse and serious situation we have, may be mutual surveillance among civilizations and users through utilizing convenient services caused by people’s unconscious self-regulation and limitation to act in public space while the surveillance camera unconsciously may watch them(iv). This situation is almost caricature-like, which is no more about panopticon, a group of people may be watched, but synopticon. A person can be watched by many and unspecified eyes by technology. 

Thus, for consideration of keeping security for one’s community, our discussion doesn’t finish talking about just whether to set security cameras or to save priority of our privacies. Adopting IT services, a cheap cost technological trick for the solution to get rid of superficial noise, has an apprehensive to conceal deeping and consideration for the problem. In my show here, I made the situation that the audience sees art but them to be seen by art. I know this is a kind of paranoid way for you. Also in my collage series, every character has a camera eye on their head, which are black hollow hole that may not see anything and may be not watched by anyone. 

After all, when you get out from this show to the outside of town, if you could find any unfinished object only with its head and eye in Koganecho, and feel the impulse to finish it, it might be that your awareness was evoked. It is my secret wish which is nobody knows an artist's story.

i) https://www.nikkan-gendai.com/articles/view/life/231524
ii) https://business.nikkei.com/atcl/report/16/110800252/111200002/
iii) https://www.yomiuri.co.jp/national/20210921-OYT1T50240/
iv) David Lyon, The Culture of Surveillance: Watching as a Way of Life, Polity Press, 2018.

アーティストの知られざる独り夜警 瀧健太郎

アーティストの知られざる独り夜警 瀧健太郎 


 イギリスでは推定600万台の防犯カメラがあり、うち200万台が2012年のロンドンのオリンピックの際にテロ対策として設置された(i)。各都市もこれにならって、安全対策としての防犯カメラを設置が増加しており、日本でも街頭カメラ設置が500万件を超えている。これらの対策の効果として、設置後に犯罪件数が半数に落ちたという統計がある(ii)。 首脳会議やオリンピック、万博など国際的で祝祭的な都市イベントが開催されるたびに、都市の安全性の象徴として犯罪や貧困、そのほかの国のクリーンなイメージに不都合な要素はノイズとして排除されている。そもそも街のクリーンさや安心・安全とは「誰に」対して「何」を示すものなのか。 

 一方で防犯が行き過ぎると、守るべき住民を一種の犯罪予備軍としてみなすような懸念が生じてくるのも事実だ。2021年にJR東日本は駅などのカメラの検知に犯罪歴のある人物を対象にすると決めた(iii)。しかし最終的には人権の観点と社会合意の面から急遽取りやめた 。この計画では警察のデータベースと、街ゆく人の過去の犯罪歴を照合し、行動観察と犯罪者予備軍を検出することが盛り込まれていた。いささかSF的なこうした発想が技術的に可能になり、現実に起こりうる時代が来たということだ。こうした状況に我々はますます技術の持つ道徳的志向について考える必要がある。 




瀧健太郎《Security as a Cage》, 2001

 ところでそのような歴史的な大義とは関係なく、作者は2000年に見る装置としてのヴィデオの特異性に注目し、観客が作品を鑑賞する際に、自身を含めた自己視認としての構造を取り入れた制作してきた。 「他人は自分をこう見ている」あるいは「見るという行為自体を見る」ことを、即時性のあるアナログ・ヴィデオの技術を使い、鏡とは違う視覚として当時の特異なメディアを盛り込んだ。その後、カメラは人間の身体の眼の機能を技術的に再現したものであることから、カメラを頭部にみたてたフィギュアを構想することにいきつく。ある晩そのような妄想を抱きながら街を徘徊していると、ヴィデオに必要なカメラ-モニタのシステムが町中のいたるところに設置(インストール)されていることに気づく。それら防犯カメラを見たとき、建物にぶら下がる頭部と眼のみの未完のフィギュアを完成したいという衝動にかられた。都市のなかで見ることに特化した機械に身体を与えてみるプロジェクトがはじまった。 




 情報技術と物理的管理の両面からのコントロールを目指す新しい管理社会の時代において、いまや権力側が国民を管理する旧来型の監視社会は古く、むしろ監視カメラが無意識の自己規制や公共空間での行動制限を生み出すことで、市民やユーザー同士が便利なサービス利用の一環として能動的に相互監視することが重大な局面になっているようだ (iv)。ある集団が監視されているかもと思わされる権力による一望監視のパノプティコンよりも、技術によって不特定多数の眼に個人が晒されるシノプティコン(見世物的監視)といった状況が、半ば戯画的に展開してしまっている。 



i) 日刊ゲンダイデジタル「イギリスの監視カメラは600万台 市民は1日300回撮影される」https://www.nikkan-gendai.com/articles/view/life/231524



iv) デイヴィット・ライアン『監視文化の誕生』田畑暁生訳、青土社、2019年。