Privacy is dead. The new face of surveillance is no longer solely a tool of the government but a practice we impose on ourselves and each other. Through social media, our mobile devices, and our cultural need to be networked, we do surveillance’s good work for them. In reaction to this omnipresence, this work consists of developing tools to protect the public from surveillance by using my own identity as material. Rather than camouflage or hide the identities of the masses I invite the public to assume and present my identity as an alternative by allowing them to wear my face as a prosthetic. Thus, when surveilled, facial recognition systems will attribute their actions as my own.
This subversion of surveillance systems acts to address the fragility of identity. “URME” challenges and allows the viewer to consider the malleability of their identities by misrepresenting and corrupting my own. With the advent of the Snowden Scandal, technologies like Google glass, and large-scale surveillance networks like Chicago’s hub of 22,000 cameras entitled “virtual shield”, the need for public discourse on how surveillance affects our liberty and the ability to perform our identities in public space is paramount.
Changing the state of surveillance at our current rate of technological growth is impossible. Instead, I propose that we change what is being surveilled until the reason to surveil is no longer relevant. I propose we change us, and what better place to start than with me. Join me. You Are Me. URME.
More work from Leonardo Selvaggio.