Stef Will

Stef Will

• 28 February 2023

I always feel like…

My artist book, ‘Untitled (111 Subjects)’, has been published. ‘Untitled (111 Subjects)’ explores the algorithmic gaze in relation to power & control. People around the world are being tracked and traced, watched & monitored – more than they have ever been in the history of humanity, both by their own governments as well as big tech. The book investigates mass surveillance (sur: French for from above; veiller: to watch) as a means of interrogating power structures.

111 people unintentionally encountered in public spaces were surreptitiously observed, indexed, and archived. In addition to being photographed using a thermal lens, surveillance data about each subject was documented, and their body temperature covertly measured. Far-infrared photography not only facilitated visualisation of invisible aspects of the other, mirroring the increasing breach of the body’s boundaries in today’s society, but also alludes to clandestine watching by appropriating surveillance tools used by the powers-that-be.

I created the book with an open spine (with a specially selected black thread to achieve a grid like aesthetic), revealing part of the inside pages and creating an interesting pattern, playing with the concept of revealing versus concealing. On the outside, I used a plain, naked cardboard cover, referencing old-fashioned surveillance paper files (now-a-days surveillance files would of course most likely be digital, maybe floating in ‘the cloud’). The font I used is a nod to the ‘poster boys’ of peer-veillance, who fine-tuned the strategy of turning ordinary citizens into an army of informants – it’s the STASI’s old typewriter font.