‘What will allow me to go unnoticed?’

Surveillance/Subversion

Inherent in the distinction between ‘going unnoticed’ and ‘being unseen’ are the ways in which we inhabit the multi-faceted networks that document all aspects of our identity in the present. To be ‘unseen’ in our world of mass surveillance would suggest a missing presence. We can assume that such an individual had fallen through these networks completely. To go ‘unnoticed’ however, connotes the motivations for wanting to be so: illegal action, evasion from authority, the necessity of avoiding compromising encounters or situations.

Surveillance/Subversion’ is a collection of garments and items of the everyday that can be transformed within a short time-period for those who wish to feel themselves disconnected from CCTV occupied spaces. If going unnoticed is such an apparent impossibility in our society, where our actions are recorded and our identities laid bare due to the objects we possess, where are the openings to retain the integrity of our image? How do we begin to reclaim our urban environments in ways that free us from the fears of becoming associated with adverse behaviour? This solution proposes a transition in thinking from our Orwellian perception of mass surveillance, into its potential as ‘closed-circuit performance platforms’ – exploiting the low resolution of digital imagery to exist across many spaces in multiple personas and contexts.

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These conclusions were drawn following my research exploring the question with relevant people who have tried to ‘go unnoticed’ in their own way and with their own motivations (some of them due to career profession, some of them to avoid authority). The items presented here blend with the everyday, while their transformed states contrast with each other in such a way that users can create many disjointed projections of themselves while navigating between camera systems, generating disorientating and contradicting information about themselves. It interrogates the political motivations for going unnoticed, intercepting the lives of those who wish to feel that their image is not compromised and is not being used for purposes beyond their control. To be able to say with conviction “I passed through here and left no trace”.

zines4

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Mini zine created to document my discussions with activists at R.A.F Menwith Hill (North Yorkshire) about what was important to them regarding ‘going unnoticed’ in our time.

 

 

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