December 11, 2018


“The recorded material is erased after two months and the police have set up barriers so that it is not allowed to look into apartment houses or public buildings. Only some police officers are allowed to follow that cameras film in real time.” (D. Lennartsson. 2018)

CCTV can be said to be the infrastructure that only shines when something terrible happens. Otherwise it works in the background, silently, to affect the way people behave. But when someone has been shot, the CCTV can reveal the secrets of the public space to the Police. All infrastructures can fail. Most of them fail at some point if they are not maintained. Roads, rails and bridges can break. The internet can collapse if it is hacked.

The failure of CCTV cameras might be of another kind, unless it is shut down by lack of electricity or another, mechanical reason, its failure could be its inability of reaching far enough and therefore not capture all of the necessary evidence in case of a crime in the public space it is set to surveille. It can deceive us, misleading us to believe it’s all is ok, just because we do not see bad things happen in the public space monitored by CCTV cameras? What happens in the shadows of the CCTV? If there exists a vulnerability of relying on CCTV, or not, is not debated. I think of all families who have lost their sons to violence. A CCTV can help catching murderers, but it is the social relations who will help reconstructing the trust and like in housework it is the mothers who contribute the most, I dare to say.

The situation is visibly gendered. The modernist project from which Rosengård derives is at large extent created by male architects within a discourse where women’s household work was measured and standardized and children’s play were regarded important in contrast to the earlier days in the 1900s. This affected how planners prioritized to separate cars from greenery. Today these million housing program public spaces has become questioned. They are not well maintained, and are experienced as unsafe. They are quite monotonous in their expression, not varied like the city core of Malmö.

Catharina Gabrielsson (2017) writes on housework in a multi dimensioned sense where women’s housework is to be compared to the maintenance of houses, both regarded low class work. I find this interesting since I recognize a similarity in unemployed night walking mothers who engage in the maintenance of their local youth, who unemployed do it because they know the importance of the polishing the human relations, like cleaning or mending one’s house is too. It is all about love, hard work and the polish made of tears and a great desire to protect children and youth against social damage, or to mend what’s broken. The CCTV is mended by technical support (a male dominated profession). Social trust is mended by socially responsible human beings (often mothers).

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