Monitor: Surveillance, Data, and the New Panoptic

  • Date: October 1, 2021
  • Location: The Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art & Design, Portland

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"Monitor: Surveillance, Data, and the New Panoptic" will be at the ICA at MECA&D from October 1 - December 10. Surveillance has become an inescapable part of daily life. Our phones record our every movement, call, and contact; cameras record our passage along the street; online sites record our interests and habits in order to engage in “better product placement”; collected data streams to fusion centers; predictive policing targets specific communities for more intensive monitoring; while Siri and Alexa listen in. Through social media we surveil each other and ourselves. Connected to the economy and mass surveillance, from the high-tech to the low-tech and the mundane everyday, how are artists looking back at, contesting, and revealing the systems that monitor our daily lives? This exhibition explores the ways in which our lives are being influenced and determined by visible and invisible actions of “watching over, reflecting on the prevalence of surveillance in contemporary contexts as well as its historical antecedents. Works in the exhibition include installations, video, photography, and sculpture.

"Monitor: Surveillance, Data, and the New Panoptic" is part of Freedom & Captivity, a state-wide public humanities initiative to bring diverse perspectives from the humanities to incarceration, directed by Catherine Besteman of Colby College. The initiative offers opportunities to ask questions about systems of incarceration and surveillance as well as the benefits of community-led systems of care, strategies to reduce harm, and life-nurturing futures. Artists in particular can bring their visioning capacities to creating alternative ways of understanding our futures together. As part of this statewide initiative, a number of works in "Monitor: Surveillance, Data, and the New Panoptic" will specifically address the relationship between the monitoring of individual lives and the carceral system. As part of exhibition programming, there will be a panel discussion with scholars in the field of surveillance and data extraction and participating artists along with numerous other artist talks and related programming.


Grant Funded Project

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The Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art & Design

522 Congress St
Portland  ME  04101 


Maine College of Art & Design

Julie Poitras Santos