Tango Panopticon

A Worldwide Sensual Incursion on Video Surveillance


There is no charge, nor ultimately any 'official oversight'. I am only trying to create a structure in which this open-ended, virtually and physically networked event can unfold in the best possible way for as many people as possible. Depending on how many participants you wish to include you may have to do a bit of organizational work at your end. Or you could just dance with one partner for a song or two and, if you register at this website, you are still a part of the event. Although I have (and desire) no 'authority' in this matter, I ask that everyone do their best to follow some simple guidelines. I welcome input in this regard from all. The following list has some hyperlinks to more information regarding each guideline.


If you are at all interested in participating please take a look through the about and archive section of this website to get a better idea of what Tango Intervention is about. Email me to let me know you are interested or to ask questions. Because this event could potentially (hopefully) involve thousands of people, and I am managing this entire effort on my own, I politely ask that you look over the about page before you email with questions.

Below are some more details concerning the participation steps and guidelines. More info is available on the about page.

Choosing a location

It is easier than you think. Surveillance cameras are everywhere. Think of a few interesting public places where you might want to dance and then go take a look and you will very likely find that one or more of them are monitored with cameras. I also encourage you to talk this over with other tangueros, friends and family.

Safety for the public and participants

In my 10 Tango Interventions completed so far there has been nobody hurt in any way other than a few worn out shoes and blisters from dancing too long on pavement. However any public event has a certain degree of risk. Ultimately it is the choice of the people involved to accept those risks and I can assume no responsibility for any injuries or other misfortunes of any kind occurring during any of these tango interventions.

That being said, here are a few considerations regarding safety that you should certainly address. This is by no means a complete list as that will depend on the location that you choose. The specific risks of an event that you arrange in your area I can not state with any detail because each location is different. Here are some things you should consider regardless of where you are 'intervening':

Traffic. When cars (and/or bicycles, rollerbladers, skateboarders, etc) collide with pedestrians the pedestrian looses. DO NOT perform your intervention where there is any risk of this. Also consider that people driving in traffic may be distracted by the spectacle of your intervention, lose their attention to driving and cause an accident. Try to find a place that is visible but visible to other pedestrians rather than moving traffic.

Protecting participants from potential crimes of opportunity that are always possible in public areas. Try to pick an area that is in a relatively safe area. It is best to have all participants come wearing their dancing clothes and carrying no bags that could be stolen if left. If you are using a sound system have at least one person standing by the sound components at all times. It is better to use a simple and inexpensive CD or MP3 player, rather than your custom ipod or laptop. Some sound systems can be locked by a cable to a lamppost. Or alternatively locked to a large cart which somebody cannot easily snatch and run with.

Avoiding conflicts with landowners and authorities. You are free to choose any surveilled location but some are more problematic than others. In dozens of interventions in 2.5 years I have not had any trouble at all, but I choose my locations carefully. Generally the worst that might happen is that you are asked to leave—or turn the music down. It is also possible to dance completely silently by having each couple share a personal mp3 player and headphones. For some of my interventions I have gotten permission before, but for most I have just showed up and started dancing, to very loud music. Delight was the general public reaction in every case. If you encounter objections to your actions, and can not reach an agreement for terms of continuing I DO NOT encourage you to persist against the will of those around you. Rather I suggest you move your action to a better location.

Providing music for the dancers

Some Options I have used:

Dressing all in black

For the sake of creating a consistent visual statement for the event I request that all participants dress entirely in black. Style of dress does not matter. If it's a warm day and you want to wear short shorts, then wear short shorts, but wear BLACK short shorts. Remember that it may be pavement that you are dancing on, not polished hardwood, so choose your footwear carefully.Hats and sunglasses are recommended if it's hot and sunny, and long coats and wooly hats if it is cold. By wearing different styles but all the same color we are visually together without actually wearing a limiting uniform. It makes for better pictures too.

For information about the ideas behind Tango Panopticon please go to: THE IDEA...in context.