Ronan Devlin: Veillance (Prototype)

  • 25 August 2015 - 28 August 2015


Digital devices track our actions, communications and purchases in both the real and virtual realms. This project seeks to raise awareness of such invisible tracking territories. Through an interactive typographic artwork, Devlin suggests a new model for experiencing the intersection between surveillance and privacy.

Our technologies watch us. This ‘datification’ of our actions is employed by governments to monitor activities, and corporations to target and manipulate through ‘smart’ advertising. 

Working in opposition to such technologies’ manufacture of the individual as ‘target’ or ‘consumer’, ‘Veillance’ is a web application artwork bringing to visibility the invisible territories of data surveillance, reformulating these as a moving typographic map of individual and collective audience experience. Referencing ‘cut up’ writing techniques and concrete poetry, the system (using techniques similarly employed by social networks and search engines) continually transforms audience information, which is gathered ethically. The result is a movement-filled structure made from intersecting real-time pathways of audio-visual narrative, with rhizomic threads being woven cartographically through modes of shared experience. 

This moving ‘data-scape’ may be viewed from micro- and macroscopic perspectives. From a micro position, snapshots of the structure perform as individual, organic artworks in the sense that they may be manipulated, saved and shared, to generate further layers of interconnection and becoming.

The aim is to invite the audience to experiment and intervene in information generated through our everyday lives and to reclaim the life of that information creatively. Re-asserting our data-scape as a creative sphere, this project questions information ownership to recognize data as living assemblage, an environment we co-habit. 


The work in progress will be developed over four days through a residency and public workshop in FACTLab.


Ronan Devlin, with:


Developers: Michael Flückiger, Carwyn Edwards 
Academics: Gillian Jein, Vian Bakir
Ethical Hacker: Jamie Woodruff, 
Composer: Ant Dickinson


The development of Veillance is supported by The Space, Arts Council of Wales and Arloesi Pontio Innovation.