a watching brief is a participatory event aiming to educate gallery visitors in the art of attracting the attention of cctv operators or software. using information gleaned from reports on the effectiveness and bias of the cctv monitors and pvi’s observational research on the streets of perth, pvi offer members of the public five minutes of fame on cc[tv]. pvi provide three briefcases packed with disguises enabling participants to transform their appearance into one of the social stereotypes most deemed worthy of surveillance by the 90 plus security cameras located by pvi in the area surrounding the pica gallery.
being young, black or an attractive woman makes you statistically more likely to be watched. once disguised, a phone call to a pvi artist provide instructions as to exactly where to go and how to behave for maximum and guaranteed cc[tv] time. appearing disorientated or covering your face will get you noticed, scratching your nose may convey something more sinister.
local artists pvi collective have tapped directly into the politics of pervasive uncertainty in a watching brief. the pvi project is a good example of the power of a simple intervention to invoke a wide range of social relationships and realities by displacing them into a new context”
david bromfield, the west australian 21.08.01
devised by: pvi collective
a watching brief was exhibited as part of the group exhibition ‘tactical intervention strategies’ at the perth institute of contemporary arts in july 4 – august 13. 2001. the exhibition was curated by marcus canning