In January 2023, the French government passed a bill allowing the use of algorithmic video surveillance (AVS) as a legal crowd control measure for gatherings of more than 300 people. This technology is put in place to automate the detection of crime by capturing features that may go unnoticed by the human eye. The continuously evolving nature of surveillance technologies, combined with the normalization facilitated by their introduction at a legislative level, poses a threat to the rights of assembly, protest, and speech. This threat is particularly concerning when the technology is tasked with deciphering aspects of human behavior and making decisions based on probability rather than specific events.

Bio: Marcel Top (b. 1997, BE) is a visual artist who lives and works between Belgium and London. Top’s research focuses on mass surveillance, privacy, and data collection. In his practice, he combines a traditional approach to documentary research with an experimental use of new technologies, including facial recognition, movement analysis, and deep fakes. The artist employs these technologies to visualize and explore scenarios in which individuals can protect themselves and their rights by acquiring knowledge and reclaiming control over surveillance tools.