<p>2020<br />
Surveillance and Control</p>
<p>2020<br />
Surveillance and Control</p>
<p>2020<br />
Surveillance and Control</p>
<p>2020<br />
Surveillance and Control</p>
<p>2020<br />
Surveillance and Control</p>
<p>2020<br />
Surveillance and Control</p>
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Surveillance and Control</p>
<p>2020<br />
Surveillance and Control</p>
<p>2020<br />
Surveillance and Control</p>
<p>2020<br />
Surveillance and Control</p>
<p>2020<br />
Surveillance and Control</p>

Expansion on topics of Surveillance and Control begun in Documentation Report (No. 0617 - 0918).
In an essay for Adjacent Journal of emerging media issue no. 8, published by New York University in Summer/Fall 2020, I am writing about the tension of control and surveillance in both familial and governmental contexts, drawing from personal experiences in socialist Bulgaria and the re-unified Berlin.

I have been continuing to photograph and film places of importance to the topic of control, like the Stasi files Archive in Berlin-Lichtenberg, the federal intelligence service BND in Berlin, and the German Chancellery.
My inspiration in connecting governmental and familial issues of control and surveillance is my own childhood.

Biographical Background in relation to the subject of systems of surveillance
My own biography is an invisible foundation for how I approach the subject of surveillance. My approach is about the insidious methods of control that exist both in organized societies as well as familial units.
I was born in August 1986 in Sofia, People's Republic of Bulgaria, to an Armenian family. In 1990, me and my mother left our extended family in Sofia and Varna and emigrated to the almost re-uinited Berlin in Germany. My mother had spent part of her childhood in Halle in the GDR and studied German. Later she worked as a simultaneous translator at Bulgarian state functions.

Part of my research for the film has included filing a research application for insight in mine and my family's Stasi files at the Stasi files archive in Berlin. Another part turned out to be obtaining the letters written by my mother that were addressed to Peter Schuett, a West German writer and communist. They had met at a socialist state function in 1981 where she translated for him.
They stroke up a friendship and kept up a correspondence in letters and phone calls. The next time Peter Schuett came to Sofia for another function in 1986, my mother had given birth to me, Beatrice. At that point, I did not have a last name yet, a patronym, because my biological father apparently denied paternity. So in Sofia, in August 1986, my mother asked her friend Peter Schuett to accept paternity for me. Despite theirs never having physically met again in the past 5 years, he agreed to lend his name. There was no monetary exchange between them, he did it out of friendship. The according bureaucratic procedures to name Peter as my father were smoothed over with payoffs to the gatekeepers. Even though, according to Peter, it is certain that the secret police would have been aware if my mother had left the country to meet Peter, and it was also known that Peter hadn't visited Bulgaria between 1981 and 1986, authorities did not interfere with the lie.

To this day I have not met Peter Schuett in person. When I was 23, I learned that he was not my father, and that I was not (half-)German. My biological father is called Peter Petrov, another Peter. Apparently Peter Petrov did not want to accept paternity for me out of fear for his reputation. He had a high position as a scientist in Sofia and likely worked as a secret police informant.

Peter has processed this event in his life several times in semi-fictional writings. In one of these accounts my mother explains to him that in the People's Republic of Bulgaria, expectant mothers who didn't to be mothers were encouraged to give birth in a special institution in the mountains and then to give their children up to the care of the state. She also discussed something we today call 'showmances' in the celebrity world - only it happens in the 80s in socialist Bulgaria, not in today's Los Angeles. In the letters, my mother is weaving in her words a 'legend' and is becoming one of those women who claim their husbands are on endless trips abroad, until they conveniently separate.