Tacit Surveillance   Austria   1992

Margot PILZ  

"Tacit Surveillance leaves the space free for one conceived and completed by me. ...'tacit surveillance' describes a situation where the observers are part of the system that they are monitoring." (Margot Pilz)
Margot Pilz's video installation Tacit Surveillance is an installation with a mirror and four monitors, each of which shows a looped computer animation of the official telephone book (ATB) for the City of Vienna. The mirror, which rotates around its own axis driven by a motor, reflects the message of the video, official entries in the telephone book rendered legible in numbers and letters. Certain symmetrical elements and asynchronisation in commercial life can be discerned in the loose succession of numbers and the appropriate names, though ? when, for example, people's different cultural origins or a migrant background are suggested by their first names and surnames. The work is part of a process and was conceived as a preparatory study for her large-scale video sculpture U-Turn 1, where she addresses the virtual sociological observation of the population of Vienna again, more extensively. Margot Pilz is one of the first artists in Vienna to have used computers and computer animation in her work back in the 1980s, and to have employed the medium in entirely different contexts. The technology serves here chiefly to rework images for a particular ? psychological, sociological or environmental ? topic, and has seldom been used as an end in itself. However digitalised data did not have to be used for the planned contents, a different artistic form must have been conceivable.
(Patricia Grzonka/Jonathan Quinn, Engl.)


Die Auflösung der Fotografie - Der kalte Raum, 1992

Blau-Gelbe Galerie, NÖ Landesgalerie, Wien, Austria


45sec no sound color PAL

Technical protocol

VHS video (master copy), animated video with edited excerpts from the Vienna phone book (first part of the ATB data base, up to letter K); Amiga computer, paint program

Multi-part video installation: 4 monitors, video player, tape of the animated ATB data base, rotating mirror (200 x 60 cm), motor


Margot Pilz


Margot Pilz

Copy to see

Niederösterreichisches Landesmuseum, St. Pölten