chapter  9
18 Pages

Audiences for the Arts in the Age of Electronics

ByJOEL L. SWERDLOW

The shopping mall security guard, who says her name is Laura anddescribes herself as “tall with reddish blond hair,” sits all day in front of images from security cameras, so she tries to break the boredom. Some days, she uses the cameras to follow the activities of a young shoplifter who has some very effective routines; another time, she leaves the windowless security ofce to retrieve a wallet that a man had just dropped in the parking lot. Examining its contents, she begins to imagine what his life must be like. She also connects the security cameras to a Web site and allows people to actually control the security cameras, choosing what areas to monitor and what angles to use. Talking to its visitors via computer, she sometimes wears high-heeled shoes that click as she paces back and forth. The security cameras are real, and visitors to the Web site can indeed control them, but they are at the Vancouver

Art Gallery, and Laura, her shoplifter, and all other individuals in her life, do not exist. It is all a work of art, blending imagination and reality and using new technology to engage viewers. After spending time with Laura, simply going to a museum and looking at works of art that just stay on the wall, unmoving and untouchable, will never seem the same again.