IMPOSTER / VOYEURISM / SELF-DEPRECATING / SURVEILLANCE / INSTALLATIONS
Daisy Mason is a 3rd Year Fine Art Photography student studying at GSA. Take a peek into Daisy’s practice as she discusses surveillance, capitalism and the processes she uses to respond to the art of watching.
Tell us a bit about yourself and where you're based.
I (she/her) am an artist based in Glasgow but currently residing in my childhood home in Edinburgh until the world goes a bit more back to normal. I still struggle to call myself an artist even though I’m three-quarters of my way through a fine art degree - I think I have a bad case of impostor syndrome.
What do you make & how do you make it?
There has always been an element of voyeurism in my work, I want to know everything about everyone. I often look into people’s windows when I walk down the street and imagine what their life might be like; what kind of person they are, what they do for work, what they do for fun. A lot of people think it's creepy but I never have any ill intent, I just find the lives of others fascinating. I would describe my current work as a voyeuristic exploration of capitalism and surveillance culture. I’m obsessed with security cameras and how they can be utilised to find out about the world around us. I’ve been using unprotected IP cameras in my work, I first used them as a photographic tool, taking screenshot portraits of the people captured in them. After some time trolling the internet for open access cameras, I realised that the majority of CCTV cameras in the USA were pointed at billboards. I found it interesting that Americans chose to protect their advertisements in the same way they would protect their most treasured possessions like their house or car. My work “American billboard in…” recontextualises the advertisements I’ve observed and places them around other spaces near me in the UK. I have also used ascii art for this project, utilising the settings in cameras to edit the error codes to show my work over the CCTV footage. I think of it as a form of digital graffiti.
Recently I have been trying to add myself into the mix, I have found a number of cameras near me that I can access. I’ve been visiting these places and using the CCTV camera to create self portraits.
What has been your biggest challenge to navigate?
I think the lack of community and peer support has really impacted my confidence to make work. Being in a busy studio with like-minded people is so inspiring - I really value my studio pals’ opinions. Sometimes you need an outsider’s perspective on your work or you can end up wrapped up in your own self-deprecating thoughts (which has been happening to me a LOT). I’ve been trying to use Instagram to share my work in progress and chat to other creative people about what they’re up to, it’s been a great help!
How do you think your practice sits in today's context?
I think we are living in the age of surveillance culture. We actively participate in our own surveillance every time we click agree to terms and conditions or allow cookies on a website. I think it’s important to make work on the subject matter to make people aware of how easy it is to access surveillance.
I’ve noticed that a mine and lot of others’ work has been pushed towards a more digital aesthetic this year, probably due to the lack of physical space most of us have. Almost all of my work exists entirely within a digital setting, I don’t feel the pressure to create physical work (making isn’t my strong point) in order to make ‘finished pieces’ this year has definitely changed my opinion of what constitutes as realised work.
What's next on your practice-agenda? Goals, projects or any upcoming shows perhaps?
Although I said I’m not huge on making physical pieces, I would love to experiment with creating installations and making interactive work next year. There’s a lot of avenues I’m still yet to explore in terms of themes so I want to put more time into my research over summer so I can start off my final year (omg) ready to throw myself into making work.
Favourite studio food?
Big fan of eating lotus spread straight from the jar at the moment.
Something interesting you have seen this week?
I’ve been numbing my mind with a lot of TV recently, I’ve gotten into line of duty in a BIG way over the past few weeks.
Final words of advice for your peers?
Don’t do what I do and not make work from fear of it being shit. Just do it anyway!