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May 8, 2015 at 8:30 pm

What You Get is What You See: The City Has Eyes

with Geoff Manaugh

The first part of this talk will attempt to look at security professionals, at those who look for a living—to watch the watchers—and to understand urban security as a different kind of spectatorship, with its own narrative expectations and interpretive cinematography. Whether this involves staring for hours at a time at multiple video feeds or simply reorienting CCTV cameras to watch—and thus protect—their own cars parked outside the office, guards are the very definition of urban spectatorship, literally looking at how the metropolis is used or inhabited.

The second part of this talk will look the other way, so to speak, at those who seek not to be looked at, who wish to remain invisible and anonymous: how burglars, vandals, and everyday criminals see the city, as an arena of crimes both real and imagined.

The point is to reveal the city as a stadium of looking: on the lookout for criminals hiding in the shadows, and looking out for police waiting around the next corner.

Followed by a complimentary cocktail reception.


sponsored by El Buho Mezcal

Manaugh_SpectatingShotGeoff Manaugh is a freelance writer and curator based in New York. His work has appeared in The New York Times, New Scientist, Popular Science, Domus, newyorker.com, and many other publications, including multiple books, exhibition catalogs, and artist monographs. He is most widely known as the author of BLDGBLOG (http://bldgblog.blogspot.com), a long-running online catalog of architectural and spatial ideas, across various scales and genres. His newest book, investigating the relationship between burglary and architecture, is forthcoming from Farrar, Straus and Giroux in October 2015.


What You Get Is What You See: A Series on Spectatorship


(WYGIWYS gif by Alison S. M. Kobayashi)

What hides behind simple gestures of attending?

In this series, UnionDocs invites artists and writers to show us how to become more active, more engaged–and perhaps better–spectators. The speakers share their experiences and personal observations as viewers, readers, watchers, listeners and audience members of visual, video and performance arts, graphic design, radio, TV and cinema. Through their trained gaze and skilled sensitivity, they disturb and displace our perception of contemporary culture and expose spectatorship as an everyday dynamic act.

A series curated by Mathilde Walker-Billaud.


May 8, 2015
8:30 pm – 10:30 pm

UnionDocs is grateful for support from:

Collaborative Studio

Based in one of NYC’s most exciting neighborhoods, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, CoLAB offers a platform for exploring contemporary approaches to the documentary arts and a process for developing an innovative collaborative project.

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