Torque Editions

The Opticon

Torque inhabited the Wolfson Gallery at Tate Liverpool on 7/8th February 2015, producing a newspaper on privacy and surveillance, in collaboration with visitors to the gallery and Tate Collective, in an act of mass writing about mass reading.

We used specially designed questionnaires, produced in dialogue with Privacy International, exploring respondents thoughts and feelings on issues of privacy, gathering over 10,000 words, all included in the publication. Artist Erica Scourti was in residence over the weekend and produced a new text work in response to feedback to the questionnaire.

Erica also gave a talk alongside Professor Christian Fuchs, and we conducted an online callout for poetry. Additional texts were produced by privacy campaigner and politician Claude Moraes and academics Soenke Zehle and Ned Rossiter.

On display were a collection of surveillance and privacy based documents and provocations displayed on monitors in ‘speed reading’ form.

The newspaper was designed in the gallery by Mark Simmonds and 5000 copies were printed and distributed the following week.

This event was supported by Tate Learning and coincided with the exhibitions: The Serving Library, Gretchen Bender and Transmitting Andy Warhol.

Tate Liverpool event page


Threats to Freedom, Privacy and the Public Sphere in the Age of Social Media and Mass Surveillance Professor Christian Fuchs asks: What are the implications of economic and political control of social media for freedom, privacy and the public sphere – in the age of Edward Snowden’s revelations about Internet mass surveillance, a long-lasting socio-economic crisis, and the sustained critique of the likes of Facebook, Google, and other related global online advertising agencies?

Artist Erica Scourti presents The Outage – her intimate ghost-written memoir written by J.A. Harrington solely using traces of Scourti’s online life, including purchase and search histories, email fragments, and social media entries.

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The Opticon


February 2015

Print Run



Nathan Jones and Sam Skinner


Anonymous questionnaire respondents, Mez Breeze, Erica Scourti, Soenke Zehle and Ned Rossiter, Claude Moraes MEP, Christian Fuchs, J.R. Carpenter, S.J. Fowler, Patricia Farrell, Rhys Trimble, Curt Cloninger, Owen Lowery, Melissa Lee-Houghton, Eleanor Rees


Mark Simmonds