Please — spy on me — please

When artist and professor Hasan Elahi was interrogated by the FBI as a suspected terrorist, he reacted to their suspicion in one of the most extreme ways possible. Elahi started Tracking Transience, a site that broadcasts his location, photographs of his most recent meals and the toilets he utilizes — and otherwise inundates the world (and the FBI) with the mundane details of his life.

Elahi:

I’ve come to the realization — guys, you want to watch me? That’s fine. I’m OK with that. But you know what? I can watch myself better than you guys ever could. And that’s what was really exciting about this project, it turns the surveillance upside down on its head… I live an incredibly anonymous and private life, because there is so much noise out there. I’ve actually created this data camouflage… We live in such an absurd age, that the only way you can counter it is by going even further absurd with this.

It’s a project reminiscent of 3rdi, which I first wrote about back in December. It’s interesting how these self-surveillance projects actually end up making our everyday tweeting/flickring/blogging/facebooking seem more extreme. Although most of us don’t publish a detailed record of our every movement, we do publicize portions of it, portions that could be used in nefarious ways if the intent was there.

{via on the media}

The guy with a video camera implanted in the back of his head

Wafaa Bilal‘s latest performance piece is an extreme commentary on a culture with limited privacy. Beginning this Wednesday, the camera in the back of Bilal’s head will take a photograph every minute for an entire year.

This project is really raising awareness about surveillance. Our image is being taken probably hundreds of times a day, yet that [phenomenon] remains invisible. So acting as a mirror, as an artist, I’m trying to make that invisibility visible by having a camera very visible, implanted in my head.
—Bilal on On the Media

A couple of thoughts: I like that the camera is on the back of his head and not the front, which takes a way from the narcism and looks less creepy. The rear-facing camera puts more emphasis on his surroundings and the passivity (or not) of the environment around him rather than his personal experience.

It’ll be interesting to see how his life is changed during the year, how his relationships change and to see some of the photos that are captured.

{via on the media}