PhD defence Rosa Wevers: Exhibitions of surveillance art

35 bewakingscamera's. Foto: Lianhao Qu, via Unsplash

On Friday 28 June, Rosa Wevers will defend her PhD dissertation ‘Facing Surveillance’, which analyses a corpus of exhibitions of 'surveillance art' that were on show in Europe between 2013 and 2023.

Art exhibitions

The growing importance of surveillance as societal issue is currently thematised in a series of contemporary art exhibitions. Rosa Wevers explores how these exhibitions develop a critical understanding of surveillance by approaching this theme in visual, emotional, and medium-specific ways.

Surveillance art

From a photo series that exposes hidden surveillance systems to a colourful mask that renders the wearer unrecognisable to digital facial recognition: artists creatively shape surveillance critique.

Wever traces the artistic motives and strategies that artists and curators have employed to make citizens aware of the societal impact of surveillance. She highlights a series of key exhibitions that have not yet been recognised as drivers of such critical public awareness.

Exhibiting surveillance

People typically experience surveillance art when visiting an exhibition. This exhibition context remains however underexplored in the scholarly literature. Wevers demonstrates that this context must be considered because it influences how this type of art is experienced and understood by visitors.

By analysing exhibitions and curatorial practices, Wevers shows that the curators who assemble these exhibitions translate scholarly knowledge about surveillance to a broader audience. In exhibitions, encounters between the public, artworks, and societal themes emerge, allowing visitors to learn to critically engage with surveillance.

Start date and time
End date and time
Hybrid: online (click here) and at the Utrecht University Hall
PhD candidate
R.L.L. Wevers
Facing Surveillance
PhD supervisor(s)
Professor R.L. Buikema
Professor B.A. De Graaf
Dr P.Y. Wan