Hansel & Gretel, a new immersive visual art commission by Jacques Herzog, Pierre de Meuron and Ai Weiwei, addresses the pervasiveness of surveillance in today’s hyper-monitored world. Taking over the Armory’s entire first floor, Hansel & Gretel lures visitors into a disconcerting environment where their every movement is watched and recorded.
As audiences traverse the dark expanse of the Drill Hall, a grid of white lights traces their path, and vanishes behind them while drones fly overhead and surreptitious cameras steal their anonymity. Visitors transition from the role of the observed to the observer when entering the Head House “surveillance laboratory,” where footage from the Drill Hall is streamed, and visitors can interact with facial recognition software as well as trace the history, technology, and repercussions of surveillance. The live stream is also available via the Armory’s website.