Welcome to The Nor, a series of essays by James Bridle commissioned by the Hayward Gallery in 2014/5. In order, the essays are: All Cameras Are Police Cameras, Living in the Electromagnetic Spectrum, and Low Latency, as well as an Epilogue. These are accompanied by photographs and a map, and additional content can be found throughout this site.

Walk One: The Opening

October 27, 2014 | Walk One,Walking | Tags: , , ,


This week I will undertake the first walk of the Nor, a journey around London’s Congestion Charging Zone, the oculus of automated surveillance.

For the background on ANPR and automated surveillance in London and Britain, see this article I wrote in 2013: How Britain exported next-generation surveillance.

Initially installed in 2003, the CC Zone consists of over 700 cameras which monitor and record the details of all vehicles which pass through it. While it was promised that this system would only be used for traffic reduction, in 2007 the government signed a certificate of exemption that grants the Metropolitan Police permission to record and store all data from the cameras, twenty-four hours a day.

[Image source: Rorschmap]

Urban Paranoia

October 13, 2014 | Research |

Urban Paranoia

Ideas in Psychoanalysis: Paranoia, David Bell, 2003

The Nor: Preview

October 7, 2014 | Rubric |

The Nor is an online/offline investigation by James Bridle, as part of MIRRORCITY at the Hayward Gallery, London, 14 October 2014 – 4 January 2015.

The Nor: lines of power inscribed on the city, physically and digitally. Ley lines and fibre optic cables, microwave trading relays, airfields and datacentres, dead letter drops and dark email addresses.

The sense of being watched is a classic symptom of paranoia, often a sign of deeper psychosis, or dismissed as illusory. In the mirror city, which exists at the juncture of the street and CCTV, of bodily space and the electromagnetic spectrum, one is always being watched. So who’s paranoid now?

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