Urban Surveillance Garden

Metenkov House Museum of Photography

Yekaterinburg, Russia


Downtown Yekaterinburg’s hustle and bustle, its crowded streets, hide a garden: the garden in the courtyard of the Metenkov Museum of Photography. Once a flower garden, it is now home to a more common species of urban flora—video surveillance cameras.

The garden’s cameras, camouflaged as light sources, make no attempt to record rule-breaking or establish total control à la Orwell’s 1984. They only survey the passage of time, allowing interested viewers to share each moment by tuning in to a live stream.

Visitors to the garden will encounter different sounds and lighting projected by the surveillance plants. By entering the camera’s field of view, they will be able to see themselves in the third person, in whatever state they are in, and capture their everyday appearance.

The garden is open to visitors during museum hours (10 am–6 pm, GMT+3) September 23–October 23

Online translation

Olesya Ilenok 2021.jpg



Olesya Ilenok is an interdisciplinary artist who studies urban environments, using analog and digital tools in her work. She works in various media: generative art, sound, dynamic lighting, clay sculpture, photography, collage, stencil graffiti, and video. Ilenok has been shortlisted for the Sergey Kuryokhin Award for Best Public Art Project (for He Said, “We’re There!”, 2018, as part of the collective 4ZH) and won the Art of Neuroscience competition (The Netherlands, 2019; with the project AF:CFFiIV, created as part of the collective pt9). Her residencies include New Stories of Yekaterinburg (Metenkov House, Yekaterinburg) and the Virtual St. Petersburg Art Residency (supported by the European Union National Institutes for Culture). She has shown work at group shows at the National Center for Contemporary Arts Ural Branch (Yekaterinburg), the Yeltsin Center (Yekaterinburg), the Electromuseum (Moscow), Zarya Center for Contemporary Art (Vladivostok), and Artservatory Center of Contemporary Art (Khabarovsk).