Winter Hof (2012), looping 4K video
Winter Hof is a 24-hour cycle of observations in a Berlin apartment complex. During the short days of winter, indoor lights are often turned on, allowing for everyone to see into each other’s apartments and by extension, into each other’s lives.
This video project explores cycles of time and daily ritual. It also plays on our natural voyeuristic tendencies. On another level, Winter Hof reflects ideas of lateral surveillance.
Throughout history various totalitarian regimes and religious extremists have coerced people to spy and report on each other as a way of tightening control over all aspects of public and private life. Germany has two infamous examples of lateral surveillance: the Nazi and the Stasi (which was the impetus for this project). But we can also think of McCarthyism in America, the Spanish inquisition along with countless other examples.
As the ever present fear of terrorism creeps into our everyday lives we are once again becoming a culture of surveillance. But now it has expanded beyond our immediate neighbors and has spread onto the internet and social media. Lateral or participatory surveillance is now becoming an online pastime. There is an emerging culture of democratized digital surveillance in which security and entertainment have blurred into voyeurism. We no longer need to have our lights on for other people to see into our lives.