Closed Circuit TeleVision – surely it’s just a TV with limited viewers, not dissimilar to the broadcaster of news and entertainment that we fill our homes with. The rather cosy, reassuring association of the spy camera with TV is maybe what gives it an air acceptance in our buildings and streets. Are we really safer though, because Big Brother is keeping an eye on things when we are looking the other way, absent or asleep? Or is it just that we feel more insecure, more infantile, more willing to rely on the paternalism of the State?
And what of the trend of online self-disclosure, the selfie, and reality TV where people outdo one another to be seen nation, or even, worldwide, if only for a few moments, no matter how innane or ludicorous they appear. Under the gaze of the lens we have become a nation of narcissists, regressing back to the mirror stage of development: “in which a child encountering a mirror realizes that he or she has an external appearance.” (Lacan). 1.
Walking beneath the skylight exterior of this renowned building, I read the inscription:
“The Bank of England made this way through Tivoli Corner for the citizens of London 1936”
And in 2014 these same citizens are spied on even here so that on average Londoners are ‘caught on camera’ up to 100 times a day. Across Europe, London is the capital of CCTV.
Clear Conscience TV is how many people view this intrusion, whereby only the wrong-doers have anything to fear. I wonder.
“Always eyes watching you and the voice enveloping you. Asleep or awake, indoors or out of doors, in the bath or bed- no escape. Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimeters in your skull.” ― George Orwell, 1984
In the News:
July 2013: One surveillance camera for every 11 people in Britain, says CCTV survey
Jan 2014: London drivers given 850,000 CCTV camera fines in a year