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March 31, 2009

Aye Eye


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In the name of security — in this case, protecting world leaders participating in the G20 summit — such images might elicit feelings of reassurance. (Beyond the video monitoring, this Zimbio slideshow offers shots of London police carefully combing through fields and buildings in the area of the ExCel Centre. This one, in particular, has a kind of Lee Harvey Oswald feeling to it.)

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In a larger context, though, the photos also usher us into the house of Big Brother. (Looking at the top shot, I can imagine asking the uniform to demonstrate what “cool stuff” we can see by just hitting the zoom.) I’m wondering, from a propaganda perspective, if an event like the summit also provides a “window of opportunity” — through images like these — to further condition the public to the visual surveillance of everyday life.

(images: Oli Scarff/Getty Images. caption: A Metropolitan Police officer views displays from CCTV cameras around London in the Special Operations Room of the Central Communications Command ahead of the G20 summit of world leaders, on March 31, 2009 in London, England. The policing operation for the G20 Summit in London’s ExCeL Centre and the expected protests throughout the capital is set to be one of the largest and complex police deployments ever, involving 2,500 officers.)

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p00e5523476cc8834 DennisQ

    I can help noticing all the empty buildings said to be “near” the ExCel Centre. If they were all filled with workers who were part of society, doing something productive, would it be necessary to be so officially fearful? It could be that threats are magnified because the emply buildings create a sort of baffle that amplifies sound. The buildings reflect a different reality from what happens today. Ordinary people today, the so-called salt of the earth aren’t invested in preserving a heritage. Heck, blow the thing up, they say. It doesn’t reflect their reality.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/bagnews Michael Shaw (The BAG)

    I had a similar reaction. Visually, in fact, the structures seem indistinguishable from the blighted architecture we’ve been looking at in recession photo galleries from Cleveland, Detroit, etc.

  • AJ

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/mar/30/cctv-london-government-transport-g20 – Interesting you would cover this with the released news that most of the inner-city London CCTVs will be shut down – rather odd for ’security’ wouldn’t you think?

  • ids

    I see it more as a video news release for the surveilance industry, more about funding than conditioning. Or living in Obamaville, i’m already conditioned. Anyhow, it’s the Real World of political pageantry.

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