M+M Program in Media and Modernity presents
“The Construction of Fear”
[interlocutor: Mary Anne Staniszewski]
Tuesday, February 23, 2021 @5pm EST
Online Event [register here or stream here]
Wooden fences, barbed wire, bars, walls, cameras, alarms, closed circuit TV, radars, dogs, security guards, electronic systems … are some of the devices which act within new private and public spaces supposedly for their security, surveillance and protection. Security and Surveillance is one of the fastest-growing industries and, in the end, is a subsidiary of the military industry. On a par with the design of jails, it is at the top of the list of major development projects in the construction industry. The configuration of cities has been defined and developed with urbanisation projects that expand the centre and create peripheries. At the same time, these peripheries create paradoxes between the public and the private, between the richest and the poorest. Suburb, a word from Latin origins and an Anglo-Saxon concept, is translated in a differential way depending on the context. It poses security as a reality and paranoia, and transforms gated communities into new bastions where the security and surveillance industry encounters an appropriate terrain for its development.
Access to the following video works has been kindly provided by the artist, Antoni Muntadas, for advance viewing:
__ On Translation: Fear / Miedo [password: fear]
__ On Translation: Miedo / Jauf [password: jauf]
Antoni Muntadas was born in Barcelona in 1942 and has lived in New York since 1971. He arrived at MIT in 1977 to join the Center for Advanced Visual Studies (CAVS) as a research fellow. There Muntadas explored topics such as the media landscape and the dichotomies between subjectivity and objectivity, and private and public on the media sphere. He works on projects in different media such as photography, video, publications, the world wide web, public interventions, and multi-media installations. Since 1995, Muntadas has grouped together a set of works and projects titled On Translation Series. More recently, he has developed other projects and series such as About Academia, Asian Protocols, Strategies of Displacement, and The Construction of Fear. Their contents and materials are highly diverse while they all focus on the author’s personal investigative experience and a particular project methodology that is applied to analyze diverse contexts and social aspects. Muntadas was Professor of the Practice at ACT in the Department of Architecture at MIT and at the IUAV Instituto Universitario de Arquitectura del Veneto in Venice. He has shown his work at Documenta (1977, 1997), at the Whitney Biennial of American Art (1991), at the 51ª Biennale di Venezia (2005), and other biennials such as São Paulo, Lyon, Taipei, Gwangju, Istanbul and La Habana. Muntadas’ work Political Advertisement X 1952-2020, done in collaboration with Marshall Reese, is being shown now on the program democracies? at MOMA Magazine.
Mary Anne Staniszewski is an art and cultural historian whose books include a “trilogy” dealing with modernity and culture: Believing Is Seeing: Creating the Culture of Art (Penguin, 1995); The Power of Display: A History of Exhibition Installations at the Museum of Modern Art ( (MIT Press, 1998); and a third volume she is completing that is an interdisciplinary and intersectional investigation of race. Staniszewski has overseen a number of projects related to the New York City cultural center, Exit Art, which closed in June 2012, including a 2011 Contemporary Slavery Symposium and, as co-editor with Lauren Rosati, Alternative Histories: New York Art Spaces, 1960-2010 (Exit Art and MIT Press, 2012). She contributed the historical essay for SInce 1986: Swiss Institute, All Over the Map, eds., Simone Castets and Karen Marta (Scheidegger and Spiess, 2019). Staniszewski is an associate professor in the Department of the Arts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.