In ‘Revolting Eyes’ (above) experimental film-maker and researcher Kevin Biderman reflects on the issues tackled by the Recording Resistance Symposium which he organised in September 2017 as part of his AHRC-supported research residency at the MayDay Rooms, London.
‘Activists have been navigating between the benefits and vulnerabilities of recording structures since long before the invention of digital technology. The formation of the post office and the first national library, the telegraph and the camera – all were questioned on the grounds of their surveillance capabilities while also being used by those taking part in radical struggles. Yet, understanding how to document dissent without putting contemporary movements at risk becomes more difficult as networked recording devices grow ever more ubiquitous.
The slippage between emancipatory opportunity and systems of control can appear in every smart phone, YouTube account and server. The Snowden revelations, the investigatory powers bill and the terms and conditions of tech giants such as Google or Facebook show the extent to which current technology allows the state and commerce inroads into our lives. How one finds alternative forms of expression or secure, logistical communication pathways within this environment is a constant battle. The exposé on the undercover policing practices of the Special Demonstration Squad reminds us that the technology of the human body is there to be used even when high-tech solutions cannot be found.
This event aims to engage in a critical dialogue focusing on the potentials that data, the body and the moving image have in recording radical histories. The responsibility towards those we document cannot be abdicated. Nor should the knowledge of repressive power structures silence our voice’. (Kevin Biderman)
Participants: Dr. Lina Dencik (Cardiff University), Alessandra Cianetti (performingborders), Dr. Natasha Davis (artist), Dr. Steve Presence (Radical Film Network / UWE Bristol), Kevin Biderman (RCA), Dr Nicola Kirkham (University of Oxford).
Kevin Biderman is a lecturer, researcher and experimental film-maker. Currently, he is undertaking a TECHNE funded PhD at the RCA where he tutors in Critical and Historical Studies. His doctoral research examines visual surveillance practice within the City of London from the Ring of Steel to the present day. He has previously produced work for Editions Autrement, Le Monde Interactive, OpenDemocracy and the Journal of Visual Culture among others. Recently he completed an AHRC funded residency at the MayDay Rooms part of which included organising the Recording Resistance symposium.
Featured image: Kevin Biderman, Revolting Eyes, still from video.