Germanic Studies Research Seminar Series | “The Surveillance Legacy of East Germany”
The Department of Germanic Studies Research Seminar Series presents
The Surveillance Legacy of East Germany
Associate Professor Donna West Brett (University of Sydney)
In what has been described as a ‘tyranny of intimacy’ in their heyday of the 1970s and 80s, the Stasi actively infiltrated public spaces, private lives and domestic spaces with listening devices, video surveillance and house searches. As such, the surveillance regime both undermined and reinforced a sense of private life for GDR citizens, which has had a residual effect in terms of contemporary aesthetic responses to the legacy of the Stasi. This paper contrasts a study of select Stasi surveillance photographs with works by contemporary artists who interrogate the Stasi archive and surveillance culture through photographic media.
About the speaker
Donna West Brett is an Associate Professor and Chair of Art History at the University of Sydney. She is author of Photography and Place: Seeing and Not Seeing Germany After 1945 (Routledge, 2016); and co-editor with Natalya Lusty, Photography and Ontology: Unsettling Images (Routledge, 2019). Brett is a recipient of the 2017 Australian Academy of the Humanities, Ernst and Rosemarie Keller Award, Research Leader for the Photographic Cultures Research Group, and Editorial Member for the Visual Culture and German Contexts Series, Bloomsbury.
Please note that the event will take place in person at the SLC Common Room 536, Brennan MacCallum Building A18 as well as via Zoom in the link provided below.