Jill Magid: Retrieval Room

Jill Magid has been using cameras to explore hidden spaces, whether they be those of her own body or those of authority. Since 1998, she combines these lines of investigation in the diaries, videos and installation that make up Retrieval Room.

Jill Magid: Retrieval Room
Jill Magid: Retrieval Room

Over a period of 31 days spent in Liverpool, the artist developed a close relationship with CityWatch (Merseyside Police and Liverpool City Council), whose function is city-wide video surveillance - the largest of its kind in England.

Wearing a bright red trench coat and knee-length boots, ensuring she was easily identifiable throughout the city, Magid would call the police on duty with details of where she was and ask them to film her in particular poses and even guide her through the city with her eyes closed - all using the public surveillance cameras in Liverpool city centre.

 

For access to this footage taken by the CityWatch system, Magid completed 31 Subject Access Request Forms, writing them as though they were letters to a lover. In addition to detailing the facts of where she was and what she was doing, she expressed her thoughts and feelings. These letters form an intimate portrait of the relationship between herself and the city and were exhibited alongside her video work.

The exhibition comprised two chapters, one at FACT and the other at Tate Liverpool.

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