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Surveillance: film evening featuring 'The Conversation'
Thursday 15th March, 7.30pm at the church of St. John on Bethnal Green, 200 Cambridge Heath Road, E2 9PA (right next to Bethnal Green station on the Central Line). £4 entry.
Join UCL Urban Laboratory and Passengerfilms for their next collaborative screening on Surveillance, featuring 'The Conversation', a talk on the urban panopticon and experimental short works using contemporary forms of electronic surveillance.
The feature screening will be ‘The Conversation’ (Coppola, 1974), in which Gene Hackman’s paranoid and personally-secretive surveillance expert has a crisis of conscience when he suspects that a couple he is spying on will be murdered. The film will be introduced by Lawrence Webb, who teaches film studies at King’s College London and works on cinema, space and the politics of surveillance in 1970s New York.
Two shorts will be shown; Bitnik collective’s ‘Chess for CCTV Operators’, a project based around hacking into surveillance camera signals in public space and John Smith’s ‘The Girl Chewing Gum’ (1976), his best-known film, in which an off-screen voice “directs” people as they go about their business on a busy London street corner. There will also be a 20 minute extract from the audio-visual installation ‘Konspirative Wohnungen / Conspiracy Dwelling’ by the artist Pam Skelton, Reader in Fine Art at Central Saint Martin’s, and German researcher Joachim Heinrich, who have created a filmic dossier on the legacies of state surveillance and the once secret ‘conspiracy dwellings’ in Erfurt, a city in the former German Democratic Republic.
Philip Schofield, Professor of the History of Legal and Political Thought at UCL, will also be talking on the Bentham Project, contextualising the evening with a discussion of Jeremy Bentham’s panopticon model and its relevance to contemporary debates about surveillance.