(b. 1988, Los Angeles, CA. Lives and works in Los Angeles)
Sousveillance Selfies are self-portraits made by photographing security monitors in stores, on buildings, looking down from above. For artist Sergio Ximenez the true subject is “power dynamics.” When watched, Ximenez watches back. We live in an era of ubiquitous images, a majority of them out of our own control. Surveillance is an authority watching, a threat, an implicit means of control. “Surveillance has an innate power dynamic attached to it by default,” writes the artist. “You are watched by a far-away observer that one cannot directly observe. Sousveillance is a switch in this power dynamic. You become the one with watchful vigilance from underneath.” Ximenez’s Sousveillance Selfies, then, are counter-surveillance—he aims his own camera at monitors showing ‘portraits’ produced by institutional closed-circuit security cameras. The goals are to “take back” power, if only for a moment, to not consent, to take action, and to produce art in the process.