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Disturbances in the sensory experience of the city : CCTV and the development of an unreal urban parallel world.

Klauser, F. (2007) 'Disturbances in the sensory experience of the city : CCTV and the development of an unreal urban parallel world.', The senses and society., 2 (2). pp. 173-188.


In order to emphasize the importance of understanding the experience of the city as one that includes all human senses, this article focuses on the increasing use of CCTV in city centers. As we can see by looking at the array of monitors within control rooms of CCTV systems, surveillance cameras contribute to the development of a "parallel world" created by the assemblage of decontextualized images coming from monitored places throughout the city. Thus, sitting in the indoor space of CCTV control rooms, as if in a capsule, camera operators live an exclusively technologically mediated experience of the city. However, public space users can neither cognitively know nor sensually approach these hidden spaces, nor can they know or perceive the new urban boundaries between monitored and not monitored places. From the point of view of monitored individuals, this paper shows that the dissociation between hidden spaces of control and fully exposed public space results in an intangible feeling of a new kind of indeterminable superficiality that ultimately leads to the personal withdrawal from this confusing reality. On an empirical level, the resulting disturbance in the (sensory) relationship between the self and the surrounding territory in connection with video surveillance is studied by the example of CCTV of street prostitution in the Swiss city of Olten. On the basis of thirteen in-depth interviews conducted with street-users this paper points out how the CCTV implied spatial and mental separation between how the world behind and the world below the cameras is lived and experienced.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:CCTV, Mediation, Urban life.
Full text:Full text not available from this repository.
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Record Created:20 Jun 2007
Last Modified:20 Aug 2010 10:38

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