From February 2017, the Museum für Fotografie and C/O Berlin will for the first time be holding three content-coordinated exhibitions

22.12.2016
Museum für Fotografie

From February 2017, the Museum für Fotografie and C/O Berlin will for the first time be holding three content-coordinated exhibitions, featuring contemporary and historical artists whose work explores the theme of surveillance and photography.

Watched! Surveillance Art & Photography, 18 February – 23 April 2017

C/O Berlin presents the Watched! Surveillance Art & Photography exhibition as part of a project (devised by the Hasselbad Foundation) on the theme of surveillance, art, and photography in Europe after the turn of the millennium. Although surveillance today is no longer confined solely to forms of visual control, we must first look to its photographic dimension if we are to understand the workings of surveillance in its widest sense. Nowadays every aspect of our existence is photographed and visualized to an unprecedented degree. This not only requires us to think about issues of (voluntary and involuntary) visibility, but also raises questions of photo-historical significance relating to the processes of observing and being observed. The exhibition seeks to illuminate the complex interrelationships that characterize modern surveillance, with particular focus upon photography and visual media. It explores a range of facets, from the technologies used by state and official institutions through to the everyday surveillance practices that have become integral to our lives, particularly in the realm of social media. Underscoring the exhibition is one central question: how can contemporary art and media theory contribute to a better understanding of modern surveillance society?

Boasting works by around 20 international artists, including Hito Steyerl, Julian Röder, Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin, James Bridle, Paolo Cirio, Hasan Elahi, Jill Magid, Trevor Paglen and Ai Wei Wei, the exhibition features a wide variety of commentaries and reactions elicited by this very question.

C/O Berlin

Amerika Haus, Hardenbergstraße 22–24, 10623 Berlin

Mon.–Sun. 11:00–20:00

Watching You, Watching Me. A Photographic Response to Surveillance

17.02.2017 to 02.07.2017
Museum für Fotografie

What right do governments, corporations, and individuals have to collect and retain information on your daily communications? What tools - both today and in the past - have been used to monitor your activities? What are the immediate and far-reaching effects? As governments and corporations around the world expand their efforts to track the communications and activities of millions of people, this not only threatens our right to privacy, but also opens the door for information to be collected and used in ways that are repressive, discriminatory, and chill freedom of speech and expression.

It is in this context of massive information gathering that Watching You, Watching Me - the 22nd installment of the Open Society Foundations’ Moving Walls exhibition - explores how photography can be both an instrument of surveillance and a tool to expose and challenge its negative impact. In tackling the inherent difficulty of visualizing something that is meant to be both omnipresent and covert - seemingly everywhere and nowhere at the same time - the artists in this exhibition employ a dynamic range of approaches. Together, these 10 artists provide a satellite-to-street view of the ways in which surveillance culture blurs the boundaries between the private and public realm. These projects raise important and provocative questions about the role of privacy in preserving our basic freedoms and rights.

Watching You, Watching Me: A Photographic Response to Surveillance curated by Stuart Alexander, Susan Meiselas, and Yukiko Yamagata. Organized by the Open Society Foundations – New York in cooperation with the Kunstbibliothek – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin.

‘The Field Has Eyes ...’: Images of the Surveillant Gaze

17.02.2017 to 02.07.2017
Museum für Fotografie

Surveillance is not only a current topic, but also a historic phenomenon. While the show Watching You, Watching Me takes contemporary surveillance as its theme, the exhibition ‘The Field Has Eyes ...’: Images of the Surveillant Gaze turns to history and addresses the particular sense of unease that surveillance has always caused, whether it was religiously or politically motivated.

The exhibition brings together 75 prints, books, photographs and examples of optical apparatus to present a visual and cultural history of the controlling gaze from the 16th to the 20th century.

Before the now-ubiquitous cameras, people were once controlled by other looks. In the age of the Enlightenment the all-seeing eye, which stood for the clear gaze of reason, symbolised the state and the law. This secular iconography drew on the religious symbol of the eye of God. This eye, a mystical, invisible entity with the power to observe a Christian’s every thought and deed, had a powerful psychological effect on believers. Be it God, the state, or technology, in this genealogy the oppressive psychological power exercised by an entity that is itself not open to scrutiny remained constant.

The title of the exhibition is based on an anonymous woodcut from 1546. This image sends a warning message from the distant past, ‘Beware, you are seen and heard!’.

Connected by photography: three institutions, two buildings, one partnership

Following C/O Berlin’s relocation to Charlottenburg, since autumn 2014 there have been three internationally renowned institutions for photography based at Bahnhof Zoo: C/O Berlin is located on Hardenbergstrasse, while the Helmut Newton Foundation and the Kunstbibliothek’s Collection of Photography are to be found at the Museum für Fotografie on Jebenstrasse. The institutions’ proximity to one another is an idiosyncrasy without parallel anywhere in the world. As well as collaborating for the first time to coordinate the content of their exhibitions, since June 2016 cooperation between the institutions has been evident from the range of offers available to the visiting public.

Intra-institutional guided tours with curators

At 6 P.M. on the first Thursday of every month, visitors are invited to join three curators (from C/O Berlin, the Kunstbibliothek’s Collection of Photography, and the Helmut Newton Foundation at the Museum für Fotografie) on a guided tour of the two buildings housing their three respective institutions. Looking at a selection of photographs displayed at the various exhibitions, the curators will point out new insights and interconnecting elements, and so foster dialogue between the pictures from the different institutions.

Discounts on entry

Visitors who wish to visit the exhibitions at C/O Berlin and the Museum für Fotografie on the same day will be entitled to a discount of €2 off the standard price (or a €1 discount for concessions) upon purchasing the second ticket.

Changes to opening times

The Museum für Fotografie is extending its opening times, and will be open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 11 A.M. to 7 P.M., and Thursdays from 11 A.M. to 8 P.M.; C/O Berlin is open daily from 11 A.M. to 8 P.M.