The Art and Surveillance Project is an on-going research project funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

Since the start of the War on Terror in 2001, the increased use of surveillance technologies such as Closed Circuit Television (CCTV), reconnaissance satellites, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones, have become part of the public and private landscape in many countries, including Canada. These forms of elevated vigilance, which impose military surveillance tactics to monitor everyday behaviours, spaces of consumption, and civilian life, have been normalized as essential to conditions of national and global security. Contemporary art has been quick to respond to and interrogate these forms of looking and the social realities they engender. As works that are attentive to vision and visibility and practised (intentionally or not) as critical investigations of social processes, exhibitions and art objects that thematize surveillance constitute unique sites at which to question both the technologies themselves and the actors who use them. Organized by Dr. Susan Cahill at the University of Calgary, the Art and Surveillance Project examines how art engages with surveillance technologies and the images they produce within spaces of everyday life since 2001.

This online database represents the first stage of the broader, ongoing research involved in the Art and Surveillance Project. A central feature of this online component is to collate and disseminate information about artists, artworks, and exhibitions addressing surveillance policies and politics in Canada in the post-9/11 period. Additionally, this database is envisioned as a participatory, living archive, one that encourages feedback and suggestions. In this way, the hope is to create a web-based community space as a point of contact for multidisciplinary researchers, artists, and cultural practitioners engaged broadly with the topic of art and surveillance.


Susan Cahill, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Art
University of Calgary

Research Assistance

Morgan Campbell, MFA Candidate
University of Calgary

Stéphanie McKnight, MA Candidate
Queen’s University (Kingston)