Anti-surveillance clothing

I just received notice of a fashion show: not the kind of thing I used to blog here back when I was blogging regularly – hello again BTW, this will be the first post in a revival of this blog, apart from anything else I miss the combination of disciplined regularity and almost random new directions that blogging brings – anyway, the fashion show is by a New York artist, Adam Harvey, who will present various items designed to counter surveillance of different kinds.


There has been a growth in both surveillance and anti-surveillance clothing over the past few years. Back in the 2000s, we saw items like the Bladerunner GPS-enabled jacket – supposedly to enable parents to keep track of their kids but which would probably be more likely to tell them which bus they’d left it on or which friend they’d lent it to – and even earlier, Steve Mann‘s lab had been creating artifacts that combined engineering and art to subvert or reflect surveillance in ways both serious and humorous. More recently we’ve seen anti-surveillance make-up – another art project. But while artists have explored anti-surveillance and sousveillance, the general trend does seem to be towards clothing enabled for surveillance or at least connection into systems which require surveillance of the item or its wearer as part of some augmented reality / ubiquitous computing scenario.

Surveillance Image of the Week: Global Satellites…

A great graphic from Michael Paukner on Flickr of all the world’s satellites, working and defunct, plus debris, by country. Interestingly, China and France appear to the worst litterers of space as a proportion of the amount of stuff they have up there. Russia have the most out of commission satellites and the USA (not surprisingly) have the most working devices. Of course, this graphic doesn’t distinguish civil from military, nor say what are their functions, but the sheer amount of stuff in orbit indicates why there will be serious conflict over the use of orbital space soon enough…

Sorting Daemons

Kathleen Ritter (2006) 'Hidden Camera'

After the excellent opening seminar over the weekend, the exhibition, Sorting Daemons: Art, Surveillance Regimes and Social Control is on at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre in Kingston, Ontario, from 16 January – 18 April. The exhibition features works in a range of media-including painting, photography, video, installation and responsive electronic art-by artists Brenda Goldstein, Antonia Hirsch, David Kemp, Tran T. Kim-Trang, Germaine Koh and Ian Verchere, Arnold Koroshegyi, Ruthann Lee, Michael Lewis, Jill Magid, Walid Ra’ad; Kathleen Ritter, David Rokeby, Tom Sherman, Cheryl Sourkes and John Watt.  There is also a special video program, which draws on artists’ tapes produced over the past two decades. This exhibition extends off-site with presentation of Kathleen Ritter’s Hidden Camera at the Union Gallery in Queen’s University’s Stauffer Library until March 9.

The curators, Jan Allen and Sarah E.K. Smith, are also interested in having the exhibition go on tour in future, and would like to hear from galleries who might want to host the show. I’ll pass on any such inquiries…