Military City

The „security thinking“ in our cities progressively shapes the design of the nocturnal life. Walls, fences, surveillance cameras and spotlights now stand where once lively public places were found to be safe through the „public eye“. People qualify these places as too big, too remote, too bright and soulless. These now dead zones feel unsafe and even more justify the constant surveillance of the urban society through an “authority”, which nevertheless became, until today, a normality.

A new discussion on surveillance technology in the European Union began at the beginning of 2020.Recent technology allows now live facial recognition and shows an even higher risk against personal privacy. 

The first installation was created for the 2019 Festival for Urban Light Culture at YAAM along the former death strip of the Berlin Wall.



With an iteration of „Military City“ we propose a spatial media installation that deals with the orwellic representation of the totalitarian surveillance state.

This is displayed in three levels, the observed people who are in an outside space, the authority who is protected inside, and Big Brother who monitors everyone and remains a virtual figure. The visitor becomes part of the installation and the most important protagonist, being surveilled and followed by flashlights. By walking through the labyrinth the pass through first two levels from folk to authority but will never reach the level of Big Brother. The installation is participative, interactive and invites to reflect on our current model of society, represented in the typology of our urban design.

The built surveillance system not only transmits videos to the surveillance room but also sends every half hour a photo via e-mail or through a mobile-app to the artist. The artist receives the photo and therefore does not necessarily have to be present. He remains unrecognized, the undefined „Big Brother“, and thus still remains part of the installation but rather in a virtual space.

  • Team

    Anke von der Heide, Fanny Perineau