AbstractThe Missing 18-½ Minutes, installation image courtesy Christian Capurso Description: Listening to Answering Machines consists of a vitrine of vintage machines (1970-2000), including a live machine playing an audio track comprised of machine-related messages and five single cup wall-mounted headphones playing twenty-five hours of edited conversations and messages. The Missing 18-½ Minutes consists of a photographic timeline of fifteen digitised wire service images (24 x 20 inches each), one photomural of Rose Mary Woods (courtesy NARA, 36 x 24 inches), two wall mounted vintage Koss headphones playing the 18-½ minutes of noisy silence from Watergate Tape 342 and two technical reports May 31 1974, 87 pages) Eavesdropping used to be a crime. According to Blackstone, in his Commentaries on the Laws of England (1769): ‘eavesdroppers, or such as listen under walls or windows, or the eaves of a house, to hearken after discourse, and thereupon to frame slanderous and mischievous tales, are a common nuisance and presentable at the court-leet.’ Two hundred and fifty years later, eavesdropping isn’t just legal, it’s ubiquitous. What was once a minor public order offence has become one of the most important politico-legal problems of our time, as the Snowden revelations made abundantly clear. Eavesdropping: the ever-increasing access to, capture and control of our sonic worlds by state and corporate interests. But eavesdropping isn’t just about big data, surveillance and security. We all overhear. Listening itself is excessive. We cannot help but hear too much, more than we mean to. Eavesdropping, in this sense, is the condition – or the risk – of sociality per se, so that the question is not whether to eavesdrop, but the ethics and politics of doing so. This project pursues an expanded definition of eavesdropping therefore, one that includes contemporary mechanisms for listening-in but also activist practices of listening back, that is concerned with malicious listenings but also the responsibilities of the earwitness. Eavesdropping is a unique collaboration between Liquid Architecture, Melbourne Law School and the Ian Potter Museum of Art, comprising an exhibition, a public program, series of working groups and touring event which explores the politics of listening through work by leading artists, researchers, writers and activists from Australia and around the world.
Schuppli, Susan <http://research.gold.ac.uk/view/goldsmiths/Schuppli=3ASusan=3A=3A.html>. 2018. Eavesdropping. In: "Eavesdropping", Melbourne, Australia, 24 July – 20 Oct 2018. [Show/Exhibition]