Ai Weiwei’s Hansel & Gretel examines the rise of surveillance culture

12 : 06 : 2017 Digital : Culture : Technology

New York – The installation features a variety of tracking technologies.

Hansel & Gretel by Ai Weiwei at Park Avenue Armory, New York Hansel & Gretel by Ai Weiwei at Park Avenue Armory, New York
Hansel & Gretel by Ai Weiwei at Park Avenue Armory, New York Hansel & Gretel by Ai Weiwei at Park Avenue Armory, New York
Hansel & Gretel by Ai Weiwei at Park Avenue Armory, New York Hansel & Gretel by Ai Weiwei at Park Avenue Armory, New York
Hansel & Gretel by Ai Weiwei at Park Avenue Armory, New York Hansel & Gretel by Ai Weiwei at Park Avenue Armory, New York

The installation, which is on display at Park Avenue Armory, is a collaboration between the artist and architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron. According to Rebecca Robertson, executive producer and president of Park Avenue Armory, it offers a ‘thought-provoking, immersive experience that explores how surveillance transforms public space into a controlled environment where individuals forfeit their anonymity’.

Infrared cameras track visitors in the space and broadcast their movements to a global online audience, while surveillance drones periodically survey the space. A Surveillance Laboratory provides a forum for visitors to discuss surveillance culture and learn more about drones and surveillance technology.

‘This project provides a powerful lens for examining surveillance as one of the defining social phenomena of our time and provokes pressing questions about the right to privacy in a hyper-monitored world,’ explains Robertson.

The Big Picture

  • In a culture of surveillance, consumers are looking to technology to manage, protect and shape their online identity. Read our macrotrend The Sharded Self to find out more
  • Rising levels of distrust and discontentment are driving consumer behaviour in a Dislocated World
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