During the Communist period in Czechoslovakia, the secret police followed indiscriminately thousands of citizens. Through a constant surveillance activity, they captured everyday moments and encounters that could potentially form a case for anti-revolutionary behaviour. The photographs were often captioned with detailed information on the place that they were taken, date and time of day, and the people with whom the suspect had been seen. Each case was kept in individual profiles, containing personal information from the suspect and their extended network, including relatives, work colleagues, lovers and friends.
Followers combines reproductions from the archive of the Czechoslovakian secret police with contemporary photographs shot by the artist in the streets of Prague. Both archival and recent images were taken with a 35mm Robot II camera, the most commonly used device by the secret police in their spying activity during communist times. The resulting fictional archive aims to draw the attention to new forms of online surveillance, as well as the widespread tolerance of social media users with such practices.
|Date||15 Sep 2020|
|Keywords||Ph: The Photography Research Network, Photography Exhibition, Contemporary Art|
Gortazar, Paula, Followers 2020
|Web address (URL)||https://www.ph-research.net/bridging-the-distance|