Eyes in the Cloud

By Weidong Yang

This is a fun little exercise of surveillance and surveillance technology.

There are many "eyes" watching us these days, physically and virtually. Physically, cameras everywhere. Virtually, everythings we do online. Informations captured are stored somewhere in the cloud, often ML-ed, then used to improve our online experience, influence us into buying certain things, or, shape our beliefs and political views. In US, the strong privacy demand from public are keeping some of those in check, at least, you can have a public debate over it. In some countries, there is nothing hold the government back from deploying full on surveillance, complete with the power of face recognation AI.

BTW, You can try to fool face recognition by empolying some hilarius measures. However, AI can easily see that you are trying to fool it, and makes you an interest of tracking. 

We found a old telescope donated by Nick in Djerassi. It's missing some parts, but the optics is still perfectly working. Patching up a bit, it's turned into a fine equipment to watch a remote subject without being noticed. In the spirit of hacking, we mounted a cell phone on top of the eye piece to modernizing the viewing and capturing experience. A flimsy tripot and some black gaffle tapes did the job.

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surveillance instrument
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modernizing
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Visible from certain spot in artist barn is Red Hot Salt Room by Annie Albagli It was modeled after military watch house. We found it a perfect subject of surveillance.

The installation under moon light (left), through the instrument (center), and the instrumenting pointing towards the target (right)

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red-hot-salt-room
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room
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targeting
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While studying the location, Daiane had this desire of making is a very confortable location for the Open House. With the help from out extremely helpful staff Wade Watkins and fellow artist Kathy High, we moved two very comfortable chairs under the room. To complete the experience, there is a stick hanging a tag reading "Under Surveillance", and a binoculars. Another artist, Kate Haake placed a notebook to let visitors take note of their experience.

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setting up
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set up
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Surveillance footage (subjects, mostly unknown):

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Surveillance footage
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Surveillance footage
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Surveillance footage
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User manual:

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Instruction
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Just to demonstrate that surveillance technologies can also be used from something quite fun. This Owl stop by during the twilight right outside of the barn. We can barely see it with our imperfect eyes. But through the instrument, it's fantastic.

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Owl
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