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Loving Big Brother: Surveillance Culture and Performance Space [Paperback]

John McGrath
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: 25.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

30 Jan 2004 0415275385 978-0415275385

In Loving Big Brother the author tackles head on the overstated claims of the crime-prevention and anti-terrorism lobbies. But he also argues that we desire and enjoy surveillance, and that, if we can understand why this is, we may transform the effect it has on our lives. This book looks at a wide range of performance and visual artists, at popular TV shows and movies, and at our day-to-day encounters with surveillance, rooting its arguments in an accessible reading of cultural theory.

Constant scrutiny by surveillance cameras is usually seen as - at best - an invasion of privacy, and at worst an infringement of human rights. But in this radical new account of the uses of surveillance in art, performance and popular culture, John E McGrath sets out a surprizing alternative: a world where we have much to gain from the experience of being watched.

This iconoclastic book develops a notion of surveillance space - somewhere beyond the public and the private, somewhere we will all soon live. It's a place we're just beginning to understand.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (30 Jan 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415275385
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415275385
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 14 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 753,853 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling but difficult 21 Jan 2008
This is not an easy read. John McGrath investigates why many people are unbothered or even attracted to the idea of cameras monitoring almost every step they set outdoors. For this he turns primarily to art. Many choreographers and directors nowadays use cameras for live projections on stage of what is going on (for instance close ups of sweating dancer's faces blown up to gigantic proportions on the stage screen).

Mr. McGrath notes that this leads to more intense experience of the performance, by both artist and audience. From here he extrapolates to society as a whole where, he argues, certain 'codes' have developed how people deal with ubiquitous security cameras.

Drawing on art and popular culture mr. McGrath gives plenty of accessible illustrations of his point, but this cannot conceal the book being pretty abstract stuff. The subject is compelling, the analysis thorough, but some stamina is required to get through it all.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars knowledge is power 28 Sep 2005
A very relevant book for our times with a lot of usefull information, very interesting artists and many references to other theorists, artists and writers on the same subject, well worth reading.
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
4.0 out of 5 stars An important text for our contemporary problem 3 Aug 2013
By M. Sisley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This text will be an essential reference for hundreds of recent analyses of the profiled society. Based in the performative aspects of surveillance, the text looks at our pervasive culture of narcissism where the watcher watches self and others, but through a lens of performing arts and artworks. The personal anecdotes are also valuable and lead the way to subverting surveillance and recasting the watcher as loved accomplice.
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