The setting is London - the world’s most surveillance-ubiquitous city. Cells of participants engage in covert operations in public space. The participants are case-studies. The site varies between London’s streets, stations, and seeing-sites, namely, Tate Modern, The National Gallery, and Trafalgar Square, each extensions of British constitutional public space; all inside State ideology.
The above operations converge Arts based Practice-as/based-Research and Auto/Ethnography; the practice resonates with flâneurie – solo following and literary/photographic documentation of such - the psychogeographic, city-centric collective method of dérive, and covert participant-observation. The supporting thesis examines four field investigations into surveillance as interpellative State apparatus of a democracy-surveillance ideological social atmosphere, and how the associated behaviour of its citizens plays-out in and rendering a social surveillant mis en scene. The thesis identifies, compares and theorises perceived ocular power dynamics, their associated behaviour in the tensions arising between resisting performance and performing resistance. It unpacks how keeping the sleuth latent within the necessary body-appearing-in-public-consensus exposed needs to observe a Rancièreian ‘proper’ whilst increasingly exciting impropriety impulses and ultimately subversion. Chiming with Plato’s theory of unsustainable governments, this potential emergence of tyrannous impulses - from a democratic subjects’ excess sense of licence - informs my thesis that the politicity of social performance in immersive crowd settings (including theatre) lies in democracy- tyranny- surveillance triangulate tensions. My thesis ultimately argues that and how surveillance culture reflects and hails our latent sleuth.