Subtitled Public

“Subtitled Public” consists of an empty exhibition space where visitors are detected by a computerised surveillance system. When people enter the space, the system generates a subtitle for each person and projects it onto him or her: the subtitle is chosen at random from a list of all the verbs conjugated in the third person. The only way of getting rid of a subtitle is to touch another person, which leads to the two subtitles being exchanged. The project exists in Spanish, English and French versions.

Subtitled Public invades the supposedly neutral and public space of contemplation that exists in museums, underlining the violent and asymmetrical nature of observation. The piece also attempts to highlight the arbitrariness of computerized surveillance systems now used in public and private spaces that attempt to detect suspicious individuals and classify people by ethnic group for example. Finally, the installation is an ironic statement about the era of technological personalisation, literally branding observers and turning them into "thematic individuals".

General info

Spanish name:
Público Subtitulado
Year of creation:
projectors and computerised surveillance system
1 Edition, 1 AP
Tate Collection



  • Programming: Conroy Badger
  • Production Assistance: Will Bauer, Ana Parga, Maria Parga, Tara DeSimone, Matthew Marino
  • Commissioned by: Fundación BBVA-Bancomer in Mexico.