An interesting mini-discussion towards the end of our notebook meeting on Wednesday about issues relating to privacy and art.

I’m familiar with the debates surrounding these issues in my own “home” context of archaeology and anthropology, and of the long and complex discourse that has evolved over the power dynamics and political/cultural implications of certain kinds of archaeological and anthropological imagery – particularly discourse involving questions of “ownership”.

I’m also familiar with various kinds of art – mostly performance and installation – which addresses various concerns about information, privacy, etc. I’m also aware of the debates surrounding the right to photograph in public places raised by interpretations of the UK Terrorism Acts (2000, 2006 and 2008).

However, I’m not aware that there’s much discussion about the ethics of privacy among artists themselves. In particular, some of the points our recent discussion centred on were to do with both photographing and sketching strangers in public places, as well as the photographing, drawing and referencing in artwork of friends and acquaintances. There’s an explanation on Wikipedia about privacy, photography and the law (although Wikipedia notes that it needs some expert attention), which touched on some of what we were discussing – but I wanted to know whether there were any guidelines, discussions or debates about the broader relationship between art and privacy out there.

Anyone know anything about this?

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