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A 5-minute walk from my flat in Hackney Central to Hackney Downs Overground Station. The land is owned by Hackney Borough Council.

NO. OF CCTV CAMERAS ENCOUTERED: 7

CCTV OPERATORS: NSL Services Group on behalf of Hackney Council

FOOTAGE STORAGE: 28 DAYS

CAMERAS WATCHED LIVE: Yes. Images are watched live, at regular intervals, from Hackney Council’s CCTV headquarters below Stoke Newington Town Hall, 184, Stoke Newington Church Street, N16

 

HACKNEY COUNCIL CAMERAS

The Cameras encountered on route are Oculus Compact, Rugged, Continuous Rotation PTZ

These cameras are manufactured by a company called Silent Sentinel

All cameras can pan, tilt and zoom. They have night vision capacity and motion detection software. They cannot detect/record sound.

There are no hidden/covert cameras en route.

All encountered cameras are real.

 

SIGNAGE

ENCOUNTERED CCTV NUMBERS: 334, 337, 331, 330, 33, 116, 32

 

RESEARCH LINKS

Silent Sentinal Information:

http://silentsentinel.com/silent-sentinel-oculus-camera-helps-hackney-council’s-surveillance.html

http://silentsentinel.com/oculus.html

Hackney Council CCTV Policy and basic map of coverage:

https://www.hackney.gov.uk/cctv

CCTV Centre in Stoke Newington:

http://news.hackney.gov.uk/hackneys-improved-cctv-control-centre-officially-reopens

https://www.hackneycitizen.co.uk/2012/01/16/hackney-cctv-someone-to-watch-over-me/

 

OTHER POINTS OF INTEREST

CCTV Operators are paid Real London Living Wage and work a 48 hour week, shift pattern 6 days on 2 days off. See below job advert (now removed).

CCTV Public Space Surveillance Operator

NSL is the UK’s leading enforcement services company. Due to continued growth we are currently recruiting for a CCTV Public Space Surveillance Operator in Hackney.

The role will require you to monitor CCTV Operations and provide a professional, efficient and effective CCTV surveillance service. You will work as part of a team and be responsible for gathering intelligence and evidence to help reduce disorder objectives.

Key elements of the role:

To accurately and promptly observe, monitor and operate closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras and related equipment, and, where necessary direct Police Officers, by radio, to real time incidents
To identify, report, and record anything suspicious, in line with agreed procedures
To operate the cameras and equipment effectively ensuring that best possible evidential quality images are recorded

To be able to make written reports or witness statements, attending court if required, as supporting evidence to CCTV images
To ensure that integrity and confidentiality of all information gained is secure at all times by strict compliance with the principles of both the Data Protection and Human Rights Acts
To operate surveillance equipment ethically and in accordance with training, policy and procedures, manufacturer’s instructions and relevant legislation
To ensure all equipment is functioning correctly, carry out equipment checks as required and report all faults to relevant personnel, carry out basic non technical system maintenance as required
To effectively liaise with stakeholders visiting the site and to maintain the integrity of the operational area at all times

You will be required to work 48 hours per week, including weekends and nights 6 days on, 2 days off shift pattern. Flexibility for the role is essential.

The ideal candidate:

Competent using a computer
Holds a ECDL certificate (desirable)
Able to operate two-way radio equipment
Exceptional written and oral skills
Ability to write simple reports
Familiarity with the relevant Data Protection Act, CCTV Codes of Practice and other relevant legislation Good knowledge of local area and restrictions
Must have full UK driving licenceMust have an SIA Public Space Surveillance Licence

In return for your time & hard work:

9.40

22 days annual leave plus bank holidays

Free uniform

Award scheme

Discount scheme

Training & development

Employee Consultative Committee to represent the voice of colleagues

Interested? Apply Now!

 


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I live in a 1930’s housing estate in Hackney Central. My commute to the Barbican takes me approximately 30 – 40 minutes, depending on how long I need to wait for an Overground train to Liverpool Street Station. I never look up/learn the train departure times, as the longest wait will only be 10 minutes. I always take an identical route.

For the purposes of this observation exercise I will only be looking at this commuting route in one direction, from Hackney to The Barbican. This is for my own convenience, as the return route is essentially a mirror of this one. I am planning to split this trip into five legs, each of which will be approached in detail:

HACKNEY OUTDOOR LEG

A 5-minute walk from my flat in Hackney Central to Hackney Downs Overground Station. The land is owned by Hackney Borough Council.

HACKNEY DOWNS STATION LEG

A 2-minute walk from the entrance of the National Rail/Overground Station to either Platform 1 or 3, depending on which train is arriving first. The return route brings me into either Platform 2 or 4. The station is run and managed by London Overground.

OVERGROUND/ABELIO GREATER ANGLIA TRAIN LEG

The train from Hackney Downs Overground Station to Liverpool Street Station can take between 8 and 15 minutes, depending on which train I take. Most of these trains are run by London Overground, but a minority are Abelio Greater Anglia trains.

LIVERPOOL STREET STATION LEG

I have a 3-4 minute walk to get from my platform at Liverpool Street Station to the exit at Eldon Street.

CITY OF LONDON OUTDOOR LEG

A 10-minute walk from my exit from Liverpool Street Station to The Barbican Centre, taking me across land owned by Broadgate, The City of London Corporation and CityPoint.

 

Initially I had expected to approach research into each leg in order, completing Hackney Outdoor before moving onto Hackney Downs Station etc. But it quickly became apparent to me that this approach meant I was only engaged for a small portion of each of my commutes. Instead what has emerged, not being able to switch off, is that I’m conducting field research into all of the legs whenever I travel the route. So the resulting research will probably be presented out-of-order, mostly dictated by ease of accessible information, before being collated back together and rationalised on completion of this project.


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I have decided to maintain a record of my working hours on this research project, as a part of an approach towards labour demystification and transparency that I’m trying to develop through this work.

I will be structuring my working time on this project in reference to my Barbican invigilation hourly wage, and highlighting through this record any instances when these two nominally separate labours take place concurrently. I will share a new labour diary each month.

L A B O U R   D I A R Y

a-n Grant Value = £750.00

Barbican hourly wage = £10.53 (inc. holiday pay)

Therefore, target working hours on CAMERA CATALOGUE = 71 Hours, 13 Minutes and 8 Seconds

Labour highlighted in italics is labour carried while on shift, and therefore double-paid.

Labour highlighted with < is labour carried out while performing an unpaid labour commitment for the Barbican (commuting)

MARCH

09/03/17 – Initial planning on paper – my flat – 13.00 – 14.00. TOTAL WORK: 1.00

10/03/17 – First informal Camera Count – on my commute – 12.08 – 12.41. TOTAL WORK: 0.33  <

10/03/17 – Note making – while on shift – 15.40 – 14.48. TOTAL WORK: 0.08

13/03/17 – Note making – while on shift – 17.01 – 17.07. TOTAL WORK: 0.06

15/03/17 – General research online – my flat – 16.38 – 17.28. TOTAL WORK: 0.50

16/03/17 – Writing up research and plans – my flat – 11.34 – 11.53. TOTAL WORK: 0.19

16/03/17 – Research Hackney Council’s camera models online – my flat – 16.33 – 17.59. TOTAL WORK: 1.26

17/03/17 – Writing up Hackney Council research – my flat – 12.51 – 13.43. TOTAL WORK: 0.52

20/03/17 – Researching Overground online – my flat – 10.28 – 10.59. TOTAL WORK: 0.31

20/03/17 – Reading article ‘The commuters who enjoy being creative with their time’ – train – 12.19 – 12.28. TOTAL WORK: 0.09 <

21/03/17 – Researching CCTV camera models online – my flat – 14.11 – 14.29. TOTAL WORK: 0.18

21/03/17 – Observing CCTV locations in Hackney Downs Station – commute – 16.01 – 16.04. TOTAL WORK: 0.03 <

22/03/17 – Researching CityPoint’s camera models online – my flat – 14.23 – 15.03. TOTAL WORK: 0.40

22/03/17 –  Observing CCTV locations in Hackney Downs Station – commute – 15.42 – 15.45. TOTAL WORK: 0.03 <

MARCH TOTAL WORK: 6 Hours 56 Minutes(9.74%)


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I’ve realised it would be useful for me to clarify at the beginning of this project that this work is not intended as an anti-CCTV gesture. While I have a generally skeptical attitude to an overabundance of surveillance and security architectures, I am well aware that CCTV can and does perform an important role in contributing to a feeling of safety when one is alone and/or in a vulnerable position.

Rather this research in an exercise in seeing things more clearly. The commuting route I am focusing on is a route I travel along well over 100 times a year. Each of these times, I am documented by all the cameras on this route, for Hackney Council, TfL, The Barbican and a number of private businesses. While I am broadly aware that this takes place, at this stage I have no idea of the specifics; how many cameras, who owns them, who is looking.

For my own interest, I would like to know the answers to these specifics. But wider, I think it is good practice to try to be more aware of ones’ surroundings, to get to know better the networks of power that one negotiates each day. I’m just trying to look back.


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This period of research will focus on my commuting route to The Barbican Art Gallery, where I work on a zero-hour contract as an invigilator.

Concretely this research will look to identify and catalogue all the CCTV cameras I encounter/am subjected to on this route. More than just mapping them, this will be an opportunity for me to develop a better understanding of these cameras as machines, looking to identify the model, owner, jurisdiction, storage period and sightlines. I will collate and present all this information, hopefully producing a document that will be useful for similar analysis of other urban journeys.

But in a deeper sense, I will look to use this focus on my commute to engage with wider questions about wage labour and how this works alongside attempting to be a sometime visual artist. There is quite a lot of overlap between my art practice, interested in the functioning of secrets, and my time spent in the Barbican, being an overt surveillance worker.

My position of supplementing my invigilator income with some money from making art (as I’m doing here) is one I have in common with many of my co-workers. So the second strand of research that will contribute to CAMERA CATALOGUE will be a series of interviews with my invigilator/artist co-workers. This will initially be focused on their commutes’ to the Barbican too. But expanding on this, these interviews will then then use the commuting discussion as a basis for interrogating how my peers negotiate an art career alongside an invigilation career.

So this period of research will in some senses be an exercise in bringing my two kinds of labour together, reconfiguring my commute to the Barbican as a part of my art practice. Reflecting this dual use of my time, I hope the outcome of CAMERA CATALOGUE is some kind of sharable document that extends this process of concurrent labour tactics beyond my specific practice and conditions, interrogating and illuminating different approaches to finding avenues of space, time and agency for an art practice while being subject to market forces and watching eyes.


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