Mapping Invisible Surveillance on the North Avenue Smart Corridor, Atlanta

Dortdivanlioglu, Hayri
Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience

This paper presents a speculative mapping exercise as a feminist resistance method with the aim of rendering surveillance technologies and their fields of view visible. The focus is on the North Avenue Smart Corridor, located in Atlanta, Georgia, which is one of the world's top ten most surveilled cities. Through the design of these speculative maps, I question our relationship with surveillance. More specifically, I show that unnoticeable materiality and invisible processes of smart surveillance technologies prevent the public from forming an opinion on their intrusion into daily life. Acceptance of these technologies allows powerholders to protect and enhance their power over marginalized communities. Therefore, by mapping the intensity of surveillance, this study aims to raise awareness against the lure of technocracy in so-called smart cities. It situates the reader in the position of surveillance sensors and allows the reader to speculate on what they can see. In doing so, it seeks to highlight the oppressive agency of these technologies and question their appeal to objectivity with the potential to disrupt their patriarchal powers. Can we free ourselves from the oppressive gaze of smart surveillance by mapping, seeing, and understanding its remarkably limited fields of view?