See Germany's Most-Monitored Areas in Collaged Surveillance Snapshots

An abstract portrait of Germany's surveillance system emerges in artist Florian Freier's 'Cached Landscapes.'

by Sami Emory
02 June 2015, 4:50pm

Images and GIF courtesy of the artist

Amid a grid of interrelated aerial screenshots, Florian Freier “virtually visits” Germany's Signals-Intelligence (SIGINT) locales through his cached Google Maps browser history. The artist launched this experimental photographic collection, Cached Landscapes, in response to Citizenfour cinematographer Trevor Paglen’s Eagle Eye Photo Contest: Landscapes of Surveillance—a call for artists, journalists, and researchers to find and unveil “the landscapes of surveillance in contemporary Germany.” By algorithmically cropping, sorting, and contextualizing Maps screenshots of areas of surveillance identified by Paglen, Freier forms an abstract portrait of Germany's monitored hotspots. 

The series offers a meta-commentary on the automated tracking of individuals’ download histories and browser caches, revealing the online implications of Paglen’s appeal for surveillance transparency. As Freier explains to The Creators Project, “Cached Landscapes can be translated both, as ‘hidden’ landscapes showing Paglen's places of surveillance, and as invisibly tracked and ‘stored’ data, that is accumulated on surveillance servers and our personal computers.” If selected, Freier’s work will be published in the Journal Frankfurt and featured at Frankfurter Kunstverein for Paglen’s upcoming exhibition, The Octopus, running from June 20 to August 30.

Below, see the algorithmic, aerial appeal of Germany's SIGINT spots in Freier's Cached Landscapes.

Cached Landscapes / Objects of Surveillance #1 - Augsburg (2015)

Cached Landscapes / Objects of Surveillance #2 - Eglsbach (2015)

Cached Landscapes / Objects of Surveillance #3 - Wiesbaden Mainz Finthen (2015)

Cached Landscapes / Objects of Surveillance #4 - Wiesbaden Mechthildshausen (2015)

Cached Landscapes / Objects of Surveillance #5 - Niederhausen (2015)

Find more of Florian Freier's work on his website


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Trevor Paglen
the octopus
Google Maps
Cached Landscapes
Eagle Eye Photo Contest: Landscapes of Surveillance
Florian Freier
cached data