Wanting to tell a story, you choose video as the appropriate medium. You look for locations, only to discover that every place has already been filmed and featured. The question arises: why shoot more footage in places which have permanent cameras monitoring every corner, recording every move 24 hours a day? Rather than bringing in more cameras, why not use the existing recordings that capture London's daily life from every angle?
For FACELESS, the filmmaker swaps data controllers for a film team, already installed surveillance devices for cameras and cranes, and a lawyer for a script writer. The process of accessing these images activates multiple legal layers of regulations concerning these recordings: Data Protection Act 1998, Article 8 Human Rights Act 1998, Freedom of Information Act 2000, as well as aspects of copyright and image rights. It is this information that mirrors the way society relates to its techno/mediated environment and tries to arrange and control itself. The arrangements expressed in these legal codes is used to craft a story.
The production of FACELESS renders the legal realities attached to these images not only visible, but, by planting a fictional, performed narrative within them, returns the subject to three-dimensional space.
Essay 'Chasing the data shadow'.
Close encounters with the Data Protection Act. Insights into the process of making FACELESS. by Manu Luksch & Mukul Patel (Ars Electronica 2007 Reader 'Goodbye Privacy')