Cynthia Bittenfield (US)

This series of photographs, titled They Seemed to Know Everything Already, of well-worn linoleum floors was taken in the former Stasi Headquarters in Leipzig. Now a museum, the exhibits highlight the methods used by the secret police to spy on its own citizens. Kidnapping, interrogations, informants (neighbors, friends, relatives, spouses), covert photography, phone taps, mail intercepts, and scent samples were just some of the tools of State sponsored surveillance.Leaving the museum I impulsively reached for my cell phone. This handheld device rendered much of the tradecraft of the Stasi Police obsolete. It was a GPS tracking device, microphone and camera. Coupled with information collected on social media sites, we willingly participate in our own surveillance providing valuable data that could be mined by both corporations and governments.