Domenico Quaranta, art curator and critic, writes about the 2004 project Evidence Locker by Jill Magid, now part of the permanent collection of the Whitney Museum of New York. Jill Magid is a visual artist who has focused her work since the beginning (the end of the 90s) on surveillance infrastructures and the relationship between observers and the observed. In Evidence Locker, she has built an epistolary romantic relationship with the City Watch System of Liverpool – the largest video surveillance system in all of Britain – bringing into being a story in which love and seduction become tools for knowing.
The project is not only about power, control and privacy issues, but is also an investigation on the connection between humans and impersonal systems. As Quaranta explains: “In the age of smartphones and mediated communications, remote surveillance is now a component of most relationships. All lovers are potential Observers.”