In 2014 Google unveiled Street View for a few historic monuments in Egypt including the Pyramids. The Google team was accompanied by a policeman while photographing the Pyramids area with the Google camera. As a result, whenever a user visits the area with Google Street View and makes a tour around it, they find a policeman accompanying them.
Ezz Monem collected snapshots from this tour and photoshopped the images by removing any other person in view except the policeman. Monem wanted to create dystopian images where the policeman as a representative of the authority is the only person remaining, and where he is being watched in a counter-surveillance way (following the follower). The images invert the habitual order in Egypt, where citizens are under constant, ubiquitous surveillance in public space and online. The images were printed manually on silver gelatin paper, then hand-coloured with oil paints to mimic cliché vintage postcards of the Pyramids. A template is printed with silkscreen on the back of the prints to be used as postcards. Monem sent the postcards to friends and acquaintances in Egypt, asking them to write on the back about their relation to Egypt (home/ authority), and return the postcards without an envelope. Monem asked them to document the card before placing it in Egyptian post, which may intercept its delivery because of its contents. Received postcards will be exhibited in a vitrine with a mirror that allows the back side to be read. The voice of a narrator, reading the English translation of the handwritten texts, will play in the gallery. Documentation/replicas of any missing postcards will also be included.
Image: Ezz Monem, 2018, The Pyramids Postcards: Following the Policeman, Oil on Silver Gelatin prints