founder of Ambient Information Systems, is filmmaker who works outside the frame. The moving image, and in particular the evolution of film in the digital or networked age, has been a core theme of her works. Characteristic is the blurring of boundaries between linear and hypertextual narrative, directed work and multiple authorship, and post-produced and self-generative pieces. Expanding the idea of the viewing environment is also of importance; recent works have been shown on electronic billboards in public urban spaces and open air cinemas in remote rural places.
Her current film project, Faceless, is a science fiction fairy tale compiled from surveillance video footage recovered under the UK’s Data Protection Act. The film treats CCTV images as ‘legal readymades’, and its scenario derives from the legal properties of the image.
Luksch studied Fine Arts in Austria (Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien) and Thailand (Chulalongkorn University Bangkok). She now lives and works in London with her partner and artistic collaborator Mukul Patel; and their son Indigo.
London-based arts production company Ambient Information Systems, conceives and produces interdisciplinary and collaborative projects, which explore the multitude of ways we now leave data-traces and are tracked through the city. Techniques and effects of live data broadcasting and transmission provide theme, medium, and performative space for many of the works.
a CCTV sci-fi fairy-tale by MANU LUKSCH
SYNOPSIS In a society under the reformed ‘Real-Time’ Calendar, without history nor future, everybody is faceless. A woman panics when she wakes up one day with a face. With the help of the Spectral Children she slowly finds out more about the lost power and history of the human face and begins the search for its future.
FACELESS was produced under the rules of the ‘Manifesto for CCTV Filmmakers’. The manifesto states, amongst other things, that additional cameras are not permitted at filming locations, as the omnipresent existing video surveillance (CCTV) is already in operation.
MAKING-OF: The film is an assemblage of recordings from existing CCTV surveillance cameras in London obtained under the terms of UK laws, including the Data Protection Act (1998). The process of accessing these images also activated other layers of legislation concerning the recordings, including Article 8 of the Human Rights Act (1998), the Freedom of Information Act (2000), and aspects of copyright and image rights. In Faceless, the CCTV image is treated as a Œlegal readymade¹. Plot development was an open process, in parallel with and parasitical upon the process of image acquisition. The UK Data Protection Act and EU directives give individuals the right to access personal data held in computer filing systems. This includes images captured by CCTV recording systems. For a nominal fee (£10), an individual can obtain a copy of this data: financial or medical records, or vide recordings. Other legislation states that the privacy of third parties must be protected. In CCTV recordings, this is done by erasing the faces of other people in the images – hence the ‘faceless’ world.
voice: TILDA SWINTON
choreography: THE BALLET BOYZ
soundtrack: MUKUL piano music: RUPERT HUBER
produced by AMOUR FOU and AMBIENT INFORMATION SYSTEMS