“Say No To ID” Image of ‘Presence’ projected on The Houses of Parliament for 25 minutes from midnight; 6/10/2006. In collaboration with Liberty Human Rights.*
Prisoner of consumerism
“George Orwell’s novel ‘1984’ was a starting point for the works; a novel which years ago seemed far-fetched in the UK. Gradually, information has become power and CCTV, JamCam, ID cards, Eye recognition etc have been gradually introduced to protect the public. The need for the public to be protected is counteracted by a fear that we need protecting.
Having spent five years working on the subject of control and the Totalitarian State, inspired by George Orwell’s 1984 and the links with modern day society – I have produced a number of works to reflect this, including collaborating with Liberty Human Rights to produce a projection onto the Houses of Parliament ( in demonstration over the ID card), performance art, digital media, and installations have incorporated this theme. Exploring social interaction with the art works was key for many of the works, to engage the viewer and to question what has become of our everyday lives.
The more recent impact of the data shared via the internet is a newer and more prominent issue and there is a fine line between protection of personal information and exploitation and indeed between order and chaos. The use of our private information for the benefit of others has now shifted from a localised governmental issue to now a more frightening prospect of worldwide exploitation via the internet which has been evident by the recent publicity of social media.”
Follow the Leader: video 1min 52 secs.
Follow the Leader examines the effects of situational power and control; to implant fear, confusion and deference.
Drawing on political and sociological sources to play on the viewers experience, this piece encourages interaction with the viewer. The entrance and exit into the installation are not clearly defined, only the text gave an indication of “leadership” and most viewers followed this. Entering through a dark corridor, single file and forced to turn the corner, drawn towards the light of a projection the viewer becomes an active presence, consciously aware of how their shadows are cast on the projection before they can view and having to lower their eyes to avoid the projectors beam (as though under interrogation). Walking towards the next corner, which holds the ultimate viewing point whereby both screens can be viewed, a duplicate film displaying further corridors and corners with sound of decisive footsteps is projected and questions – who is leading who? As others enter the installation the viewer feels obliged to move from this ultimate position as the projection becomes overcast with the next viewers’ shadow.
Stills from “Follow the Leader” video 1min 52 secs.
About the Artist
Emma Saunders is a contemporary fine artist living and working from her studio in Suffolk, England. After attending Ipswich School of Art she later gained a BA Hons at UCS (affiliated with the UEA) in 2006 and has exhibited and sold works nationally and in internationally. Previously involved with conceptual, large scale installations and video, collaborating with Liberty Human Rights in October 2006 on themes of a social and political nature. The ideology of control and power and the subsequent consequences of these have played a part in her work. Recently, her work has taken a shift to painting although she is always drawn back to this subject.
“As a young teenager, I listened for hours to ‘Pink Floyd’ something resonated with me, literature inspired me further and later when the world started changing to a technological age of the internet, CCTV etc. the unreal started to become real. It was then that I realised I need to speak out through art.”
The kind of place we live
*”It was a strange one as the night of the projection there was a Luton lorry parked on the bridge for almost 30 minutes with the back open and a large projector shining at the Houses of Parliament with the lads operating it in black and some with balaclavas – in that time we had no police intervention only two community officers who mentioned parking restrictions. Bearing in mind this was just after a one mile protest rule from the square. Shami Chakrabti and other MPs from various constituencies were present during the screening – but no press and nothing online at all afterwards. All I can think is that the Home Office intervened? I emailed the press but no publication. Liberty used the image which also included one with text “Say No to ID” in their members newsletter and I think that was it. Very odd. It was in some respects a disappointing outcome, although passer-by’s took photos. Almost as if it never existed. Fitting really.”