Contributors to this special issue investigate the ways surveillance and the fields of theater and performance inform one another. Considering forms of surveillance from government mass spying to data mining to all-seeing social networks, the contributors demonstrate how surveillance has found its way into our lives, both online and off, and how theater and performance—art forms predicated on heightened experiences of viewing—might help us recognize it. This issue includes scripts, photographs, essays, interviews, and reviews from Live Arts Bard’s 2017 performance biennial We’re Watching, a series of commissioned performances paired with a conference of scholars and artists. The performances focus on the appropriation and integration of surveillance technologies into theater and performance, such as a piece that uses Python code and Twitter data to create performance text, and one that uses an interplay of video projection, movement, and poetry. Drawing on these performances and more, contributors collectively argue that contemporary surveillance is characterized by both anonymous systems of digital control and human behaviors enacted by individuals.
Contributors: David Bruin, Annie Dorsen, Shonni Enelow, Miriam Felton-Dansky, Jacob Gallagher-Ross, Caden Manson, John H. Muse, Jemma Nelson, Jennifer Parker-Starbuck, Alexandro Segade, Tom Sellar