1984 Looks Like This

John Perivolaris and christian Payne photographed by David Dunnico

On the 2nd of May this year I took a walk from Manchester into Salford with Dr John Perivolaris.
(Here is a conversation we had on the way.)

We were heading to see David Dunnico’s Exhibition entitled ‘1984 Looks Like This‘  currently showing at Salford Museum and Art Gallery until the 1st of July.

I first met Manchester based David Dunnico at a talk I participated in entitled ‘Photography and Security’ organised by the RedEye network. For a while now, David has been documenting both the spread of CCTV cameras and the related signage that go with them. On their own, David’s images are a striking study and really need to be seen. But rather than just have a photographic exhibition, David has included all kinds of nineteen eighty four related ephemera.
I got to talk with David about his work here:

Orwell’s prophetic tale written in 1949 has been translated into dozens of languages in hundreds of editions. David brings a large number of these paperbacks along with other objects into the same space as his black and white imagery and surveillance inspired fashions and multimedia.

Big Brother's head flanked by CCTV domes

David’s work for me hints at how perhaps this ongoing totalitarian tiptoe has in some ways begun to march into our lives while Orwell’s dystopian profacy may well be getting diluted by the popularization of terms like ‘Big Brother’ and ‘double speak’.

The current reality has people in the West less worried about state surveillance but more concerned regarding the corporate data mining prevalent across the digital spaces we frequent. We are still discussing privacy but now we talk about our networks being the weak link. We are still sharing but now thinking about what control we have over this outpouring of data.

So turn off your telescreens and venture out this month. I have two dates for your diary. Any day in June is a good day to go see David’s exhibition. And June the 25th where myself and a handful of people will be descending on Sutton Courteney for George Orwell’s birthday at his graveside. This will be the sixth consecutive year we have held the event entitled Social Media Picnic. There is a low barrier to entry. Simply turn up, sit on the grass with a packed lunch, and discuss civil liberties, privacy and surveillance. Last year we had visitors from as far as Austria and Brazil. This year we hope to be unveiling some tech that assists in safer online communications.

Visit http://SocialMediaPicnic.com for directions and more information. Or contact me via this blog or via @Documentally

Here is a podcast made with Dr John Perivolaris on our first visit to Orwell’s Grave in 2007…

David Dunnico will be packing his exhibition into boxes in July unless anyone out there would like to show/tour it. You can contact him through his blog at http://dunni.co.uk/



  1. says

    Interesting hearing your discussion about surveillance. CCTV doesn’t make me feel safer at all, and the few times I have needed it, as you say, the cameras weren’t turned on.

    What a fascinating collection. Would love to see it if it comes down to London in the end. :)