press release

The exhibition Caméra(Auto)Contrôle is the core of the 50JPG—50 Days for Photography in Geneva 2016. This fifth edition of this triennial takes us right into the burning issue of automated images, drones, selfies, social networks, data control and monitoring systems, through the works of more than 60 artists.

"These days, we can 'celebrate' a quarter of century of the monitoring of public space by automated cameras worldwide. These cameras quite often bear a sticker with a smiley asking those being recorded, whether in a car park, at a supermarket check-out, or on public transport, to smile.

"A number of artists, hackers and political activists have refused to smile, instead appropriating these surveillance devices momentarily. Their actions have remained isolated, because never before has a grassroot movement fought against the increasingly invasive presence of depersonalised cameras in public spaces. It has also been a quarter of a century in which street photographers, both amateur and professional, have met with hostility, or even aggression from citizens, the same citizens who submissively accept being recorded 24 hours a day, wherever they may be. This schizophrenic attitude might be interpreted as an internalisation of the passive acceptance of one's image being monitored by unknown agents. The master stroke of this internalisation might well be the selfie, where the citizen willingly smiles in front of his smartphone and shares this image of himself on social networks, and, in doing so, subjects himself to the most obvious social monitoring.

"Here we are in the era of 'happy-selfexploitation' observed by philosopher Byung-Chul Han, who suggests that cognitive capitalism has brought about a paradigm shift. He replaces Michel Foucault's bio-politics with the concept of psycho-politics, in which we, the 'users,' participate with our own consent, not to say enthusiasm, in our own exploitation, by giving our images and other personal informations willingly to the giants of the internet. Our information is what forms their capital.

"Caméra(Auto)Contrôle focuses on a world contaminated by the Western lifestyle that nevertheless retains a few throwbacks to the old surveillance regime. The exhibition has developed an uncategorized approach in order to blend the most diverse positions between the optical control carried out by drones, the self-generated control wrought by Facebook, and a camera control exercised by counterpowers, be it the press or artists. The exhibition defends militant positions like the cheerful reappropriations of devices and systems of control that have been carried out."

–Joerg Bader, Curator / Director of the Center of Photography Geneva


Artists: William Anastasi, Luc Andrié, Jacob Appelbaum, Aram Bartholl, Viktoria Binschtok, Giacomo Bianchetti, James Bridle, Lucien Castaing-Taylor / Verena Paravel / Ernst Karel, João Castilho, Kurt Caviezel, Jean-Marc Chapoulie, Gaëlle Cintré, Paolo Cirio, Edmund Clark, Collectif_Fact, Nicolas Crispini, Stéphane Degoutin / Gwenola Wagon, Guillaume Désanges / Michel François, Heather Dewey-Hagborg, Jimmie Durham, Léa Farin, Harun Farocki, Enrique Fontanilles, Dan Graham, G.R.A.M., Hervé Graumann, Vincent-Emmanuel Guitter, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Gary Hill, Ann Hirsch, Jan Hofer / Severin Zaugg, Matthew Kenyon, Joakim Kocjancic, Clément Lambelet, Jérôme Leuba, Armin Linke, Fred Lonidier, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Jill Magid, Rubens Mano, Josep Maria Martin, !Mediengruppe Bitnik, Adrien Missika, Gianni Motti, Warren Neidich, Christof Nüssli / Christoph Oeschger, Willem Popelier, Julien Prévieux, Catherine Radosa, Sébastien Reuzé, Jenny Rova, Julia Scher, Manuel Schmalstieg, Sean Snyder, Jules Spinatsch, Jonas Staal, Jemima Stehli, Franck Vigroux / Gregory Robin, Vangelis Vlahos