The Whole World is Watching

UMD campus

  • March 2019


  • Wood
  • Fabric
  • Arduino uno
  • InstaX polaroid camera
  • tf-mini lidar sensor

The first part of this project involved placing the camera in multiple locations on the University of Maryland campus. Being that living in the 21st century everything we do is continuously monitored by websites we visit and household technologies we use I wanted to see how people would react to surveillance that they were aware of. This led to creation of the camera. For this an arduino was wired to a InstaX polaroid camera, which was then attached to a lidar sensor to detect motion. The idea behind using a polaroid camera was that it would afford people the opportunity to have the picture if they wanted it. However, after being placed in multiple locations across UMD's campus it became apparent that people actively chose to ignore the camera taking their pictures. Some people would glance at the camera, but all except for one person asked if they could have their photo.

Since only one person asked if they could have their photo the question of what to do with the other photos arose. Upon reviewing the photos, I thought of an investigation board and decided to use that as a representation of what a computer is doing when reviewing data gathered from a website. This was set up in a wood shop, which had students in and out regularly for classes, at UMD. After setting up the board I chose to write random writings next to each photo daily for 7 days, to see how people would react to it. Being that this project was larger in a smaller space there were more people who engaged with the content. One person actaully came back every day to see what was new and to attempt to discern the connection between the writings and photos.

Taking Photos

"A child born today will grow up with no conception of privacy at all. They'll never know what it means to have a private moment to themselves, an unrecorded, unanalyzed thought. That's a problem because privacy matters. Privacy is what allows us to determine who we are who we want to be"

Edward Snowden

Close-up of Day three

Finished wall