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On the Other Side FACT 2024. Photography by Rob Battersby

Close Watch (2022)

1:08:13, three-channel video installation

Pilvi Takala’s works are based on performative interventions in which she questions conventional rules and truths of our behaviour in different contexts. Close Watch (2022) takes a critical look at how power is exercised in public spaces through the private security industry.

The multi-channel video installation is based on Pilvi’s experiences during her six-month employment and research, while working covertly for global security company Securitas as a fully qualified security guard in one of Finland’s largest shopping malls. The work sheds light on what can be an underpaid, undervalued and underregulated workforce, in which guards are trained mostly on the job. When confronted with concerns about their colleagues’ use or misuse of power in these roles, how do guards work responsibly in the face of such ethical dilemmas?

Following her employment, Pilvi convened a three-day workshop developed with and facilitated by a theatre practitioner. The workshop explored power dynamics and was led in the style of participatory Forum Theatre: a form of theatre stemming from the Theatre of the Oppressed, first elaborated by practitioner Augusto Boal in the 1970s. This technique encourages audience interaction and explores options for reflection on and dealing with a problem or issue, towards social or political change. She invited five ex-colleagues and three actors to re-enact past work situations derived from her field research. In testing out alternative responses to excessive use of force, racist language or toxic behaviour, they reflected on the roles and responsibilities of security personnel who exert power to maintain order.

As the concept of security progressively defines much of our public space, law enforcement is increasingly outsourced to a global private security industry. Close Watch explores the precarity of a system built on tolerances and negotiations within workplace culture, and the impact of this on society.

This work contains dramatisations and conversations around racism, profiling, discriminatory language, power fantasies, excessive use of force, the police, toxic masculinity, addiction and alcoholism.

Originally commissioned and produced by Frame Contemporary Art Finland for the Pavilion of Finland at the 59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, in collaboration with Saastamoinen Foundation. Courtesy of the artist.


Curator: Christina Li
Installation Design: Studio L A
Director of Photography: Katharina Dießner
Editor: Elisa Purfürst
Project Consultant: Stine Marie Jacobsen
Workshop Development: Pilvi Takala, Annukka Valo
Workshop Anti-Racism Consultant: Susheela Daniel
Workshop Facilitators: Reeta Annala, Annukka Valo
Actors: Reeta Annala, Mika Kiviniemi, Aleksi Lankinen
Participants: Teppo Koskinen, Jere Rantala, Taha Sabbane, Jonna Välimäki Line
Producers: Danai Anagnostou, Elina Kukkonen, Iona Roisin Production Assistant: Mikael Saukko
Set Designer: Julia Jäntti
Audio Engineer: Rasmus Pietilä, Sergei Talja
Make-up: Sara Kilpeläinen
Gaffer: Santeri Siirtonen
Electricians: Jaana Viertola, Joonas Vohlakari
Translation: Aino Aksenja, Aleksi Mörttinen / Saga Vera, Iona Roisin
Animation: Jordana Maurer, Giorgio Poloni
Colourist: Moonrocketfilms
Sound Editing: Christian Obermeier
Retouching: Gunar Meinhold
Post-Production Assistant: Amelie Befeldt, Paris Helene Furst
Mastering: Stefan Gohlke / Concept AV
Beta Viewers: Gilad Baram, Joni Barnard, Minna Henriksson, Reetta Huhtanen, Matida Jammeh,
Lindiwe Matshikiza, Anthea Moys, Mire Mroué, Ahmed Al-Nawas, Melisa Salazar, Nastaran Tajeri-Foumani
Thanks: Hanna Arvela, Joni Barnard, Vanessa Carlos, Taru Elfving, Satu Herrala, Kari Holmström,
Suvi Keskinen, Timo Korander, Hille Koskela, Jarmo Mikkonen, Marc Mori, Minna Partanen, Ana Patel, Maria Pulli, Hans Rosenström, Otto Tiuri, Sara Vallioja, Ellen Wettmark and those who wish to remain anonymous
Special thanks to Securitas.
Additional support: AVEK The Promotion Centre for Audiovisual Culture, The Arts Promotion Centre Finland (Taike)