Z33 in Hasselt, Belgium, has just opened an exhibition with a very promising title. Architecture of Fear explores how feelings of fear pervade daily life in the contemporary media society.

I’m going to visit it on Thursday but in the meantime i thought i’d ask one of the participating artists, Jill Magid, to tell us about the work she is showing at Z33 and more generally about her experience with impersonal power structures (police, intelligence agencies, security systems, etc.) which, whether they contribute to it or fight it, are part of this ‘architecture of fear.’

The project explores the difference between the virtual freedoms experienced by a population and the physical constraints imposed upon it by the urban environment. It explores the effects of new technologies of urban sight and urban occupation on the social and political structure of a city. The resultant proposition is a series of physical interventions that subvert the urban landscape through its digital counterparts

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Laurent Grasso’s movie, shot in 2009 in The United Arab Emirates, looks at traditional hawk hunting. This time however, tthe hawk gets equipped with light and sophisticated surveillance equipment. The camera records every dune and village the hawk flies over. The images are fascinating but they are also threatening. Who is the man tracking the bird with an antenna? What is he trying to uncover?

The photo exhibition explores how our perception is mediated by and eventually adapts to the images coming from inquisitive medias such as satellites and security cameras. Everywhere around us, screens are showering our retina with information most of us hardly ever take the trouble to cross check. We tend to forget that these images are not first-hand, they are mediated, selected and distributed by media, political or scientific authorities

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