Video still from Surveillance, 1981

In Surveillance, two hired spies hold a close watch on a man staying in a cabin across a lake. When not looking through binoculars, they nap, call for take-out and fill out job applications. 


Surveillance is the first of the artist's videos associated with an installation of the same name and has had a separate life as a stand-alone work. The video was shot in one continous 20-minute take. It features the first incarnation of two characters who compulsively persecute the protagonists in several of the artist's subsequent works. These characters were given the names Rick and Jim in Charlesworth's 1982 illustrated short story, The Man in the Back Seat. They also appear in the artist's 1987 theater piece, Utopian Night Life and his feature-length film Private Enemy - Public Eye, with Tom Poole as Rick and Stephen D'Ambrose as Jim. Surveillance was shown as part of the 1983 Whitney Biennial.


CAST: Bruce Charlesworth, Paul Benson


1981, 3/4-inch video, 20 minutes



 Copyright © Bruce Charlesworth