One Nation Under CCTV – a very Orwellian description of a Banksy that popped up in London several months ago. Banksy, well known for his counter-culture, anti-establishment, free-thought street art, tackles the controversial topic of mass surveillance in contemporary society. Everywhere we go, we are under surveillance by vast networks of closed circuit cameras, social media apps and tech companies data mining and, more recently, even facial recognition software.

The over reliance on technology and its potential for abuse, as we have seen time and time again in recent years, is a threat George Orwell predicted in his novel 1984. Banksy reaffirms these dangers by alluding to mass surveillance in a major city well known for its vast CCTV network. Rather than feeling united under a shared nationality, culture or forms of expression, we are united under the idea that we are constantly in a state of surveillance.

In classic Banksy fashion, the piece is completed right next to a CCTV camera – meaning that he would have captured been on camera “vandalizing” the entire time.

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John Bigelow

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