New era kaleidoscope

2012 Moscow: Polyot cinema | online:

Surveillance system hacking;
infrared spotlights, online photography series

The legislative election on December 2011 ended with protests against its results raging in the streets called the Snow Revolution by some media. The protests were the biggest since the fall of the USSR, and their main innovation was that they were driven by the rise of social networks and mobile internet.

Vast amounts of photos and videos were circulating through all available networks. The other innovation, but less known one, was the central surveillance system that was in the process of construction for about five years.

Almost all Russian children (and their parents, surely) remember New Year celebration shows. Their last scripts have written somewhere in the 1980s and have never changed after that.

In 2012 for the first time, official and always tedious municipal New Year shows were held in renovated cinemas which included the new surveillance systems with high-resolution autofocus zoom lenses. That has recalled me reports on Moscow protests: the audience and strange mixes of Soviet cartoons, tales, battles between good and evil, and all that was inside a Soviet modernist building without windows. For most of Russia’s population, the protests were situated somewhere in a virtual world, like other official priorities of the 2010s, business innovations and high tech production.

Powerful infrared pulse spotlights were installed before the shows, the data from video surveillance systems was acquired after, and the stills most suitable stylistically to be shown as ordinary photographic report were exported and saved.

That stills had been presented to the Moscow department of culture. Then they were published via social networks by the department’s PR team as they thought the photos were real reportage. The “exhibition” took place on, a popular Russian social network.