Live and survive in the hybrid space: resisting ubiquitous surveillance


Session Title:

  • Tracking, Surveillance and Insecurity

Presentation Title:

  • Live and survive in the hybrid space: resisting ubiquitous surveillance




  • The development of mobile, wireless information technologies that “weave themselves into fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it”, as Mark Weiser put it in his vision of ubiquitous computing, has led to the transformation of urban space into the hybrid space where the invisible digital data intertwine and mingle with the material layer of the city. In the rhetoric of technological progress this process is recognized as a positive transformation, which is expressed in terms such as: sentient city, smart objects, intelligent environment. However, as noted by Lev Manovich “the hybrid space is also a monitored space”. Therefore, recognizing the positive potential of pervasive technologies, I suggest that they require a critical analysis showing the fact that they become the main technology of power and surveillance in the post-modern society of control (Deleuze). Such a critical approach is all the more necessary while we realize that these technologies are particularly vulnerable to the phenomenon of “function creep” and all forms of fraud related to the collection and processing of big data in a networked systems of the so-called surveillant assemblage. Issues of privacy, accountability and transparency of technological dispositive are particularly important in this context. While these problems are widely discussed in academic circles especially within the surveillance studies, I believe that artivist actions representing a form of sousveillance play an equally important role in the public debate on these issues. The strategy proposed in the 90s by Steve Mann is used and transformed nowadays by many artists as a form of resistance to technological surveillance. At the same time these actions can be perceived as a practical form of culture theory. In my paper I analyse various artistic tactics of resisting ubiquitous surveillance and diverse forms of artistic critical discourse on contemporary society of control.