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SURVEILLANCE/ÜBERWACHUNG took place live on the 2nd channel (FS2) of Austrian National Television (ORF) during "prime time" on a Tuesday evening, June 16 1981. In 1981 there were only 2 tv channels available in Austria and, in order to synchronise the programmes, "pause fillers" were inserted in one or other of the channels. The "SURVEILLANCE/ÜBERWACHING" project replaced the usual public service "pause fillers" on "FS2" with live images from the surveillance cameras of the Vienna U-bahn system.

The images were transmitted from the main control room of the Vienna subway system under Karlplatz U-bahn station. It was not possible to transmitt the images directly from the subway control monitors so an ORF cameraman focused his camera on the array of monitors and the images were carried by cable to a remote transmitter in a van on the street which relayed the images to the Television center by microwave.

The surveillance images were transmitted without sound and meant to conform, as closely as possible, to the way they are experienced by the security crew. The intended effect was to transform all tv sets tuned to FS2 into surveillance monitors for a few brief moments.

SURVEILLANCE/ÜBERWACHUNG was a part of the project "ARTIG", a group project for the Wiener Festwochen (Vienna Festival) 1981.

"ARTIG" treated the space of the transport system of the city as a drawing of the city - drawn and redrawn every day by the travellers as they moved about the city. The transport space of the city was also conceived of as including the "communication-space" of the media. The "ARTIG" artists were: Robert Adrian, Gottfried Bechtold, Waltraut Cooper, Otto Eder, Peter Gerwin Hoffmann, INTAKT, Richard Kriesche, Irwin Puls, and Peter Weibel. The artists managed the budget collectively and appointed Grita Insam as coordinator.