you are safe here
experience design // art installation
ARS Electronica Festival 2017
This project is about the duality of function and perception of surveillance, which illustrates the specifics of our ever-changing environment.
And I am talking not only about video surveillance. It is also true for a data collection over the internet, public transportation services and so on. Nowadays, all the infrastructure is built in the way to make surveillance as hidden as possible. That is why I decided to make it more visible and tangible.
When you step into the spotlights, you receive the same promise of safety and protection, but seeing yourself on the screen, you understand that someone is watching you. And it evokes mixed feelings inside you because from one perspective there is a hope that someone will help you if you are in trouble, but on the other hand, you have no idea about the real intentions of people watching you.
That is why, you may decide to leave spotlights and go into the darkness, where there is no surveillance. But you will get precisely the same mixed feelings because, yes, you are safer there as no one is watching you, but at the same time, you can suddenly feel like something is touching you and, maybe, you can even find yourself trapped in something uncertain, which looks like a spider web. So you have avoided a threat, but now you are facing another potential danger.
The thing is that we live in the ever-changing environment. If earlier we had to be aware of animal predators around, now we better be aware of surveillance because, for sure, in some situations, it could help us, but it also could be used against us if we are incautious.
By the end of the day, you are the one who decides whether to be ignorant or paranoid or to be critical, to analyse your environment, adapt to it and act accordingly.