Our Phones Were Never Private Anyway Artist diary

These images and videos are from the photos folder on my phone. The only one intended for public viewing features Todd, the Production Manager, covering the Cinopticon Well and tucking it to bed for who knows how long. All the others were just for my private reflection but given the circumstances, I decided to share my personal journal of the exhibition and its installation. After all, our phones were never truely private anyway.

– Giselle Stanborough


Following its installation in March 2020, Cinopticon will be physically unveiled to the public for the first time when Carriageworks reopens Friday 7 August. Visit Cinopticon


We must do what we can

Portrait of the artist as a spectral ghost at a launch that will never launch.



Early drawings

It’s a shame I couldn’t keep the footprints in as part of the composition.



Tiktok dance notes

Cinopticon Gaze is a two-way mirror installation where these surfaces switch from a mirror to a window depending on the light. It has a performance space built in and I was developing a movement piece for its activation. One part of this involved learning viral TikTok dances, which train the body to move in a specific way in relation to a specific technology. I am not a trained dancer, and I found I needed the verbal signifiers to help me learn the routine. This note is taped on a desk that I propped up to help me rehearse.



Megan’s mirror footage

Megan is my assistant, and my very close friend. I asked her to record some footage on her phone when we were nutting out the lights for Cinopticon Gaze. I wanted to gather as much footage as possible, by this stage art galleries overseas were already closing due to COVID-19.



House lights

On and Off.



Wall Details

Public Versus Private

I thought it was important to grab this one because these are the days of a strange inversion where to act collectively – which is to act politically – we need to occupy not the streets and the public spaces, but to remain in the private sphere of the domestic. The fact that we are now more visible than ever in our homes – due to working from home and socialising from home – gives this text a strange panoptic resonance: we are alone, and yes we can see each other, but only via the mediated and for-profit gaze of power (Zoom, Facebook, IG stories, FaceTime, etc).

The Frenetic Stagnation of Contemporary Malaise

I grabbed this one because it was a real vibe check: COVID-19, the world is ending, a deadly virus, industry decimated, please stay in, watch Netflix. (Of course, do that if you want). I see lots of posts on Instagram advising to use the time at home to educate and organise, but by this they mean download duolingo, or organise your panic pantry. During lockdown, social media is socialising per se, digital connection is connection per se. But what are the potentialities to use these tools against their more exploitative and individualist structures? This seems as good a time as any to give that some serious thought.

Capitalist Feelism

This detail is a play on Mark Fisher’s book Capitalist Realism, which is about our inability to imagine an alternative to capitalism. Internet content and social media can be read as kinds of “capitalist feelism”, where our emotions are targeted by the market for consumption but are simultaneously the product to be consumed in the form of emotive and affective content. Capitalist Realism had the subtitle “is there no alternative?” (a Thatcher quote) but now we are definitely in the age of “Capitalist Feelism: there is no alternative”.

Forgotten Attachment

I grabbed this one because of “forgotten attachment”, which I have done in email form many times, but also emotionally, like on the socials when someone from your past pops up and it’s like: wow I used to care about you so much and I literally haven’t thought about you in years. I think we’re all scared of becoming forgotten attachments.



A lullaby for my sleeping beauty

Todd puts the well to sleep indefinitely.



The text says: undead past, no future

At least my mum got to see the show.


Visit Cinopticon