December 12, 2005
After the Sept. 11th 2001, trade center incident surveillance in New York City and in the United States in general, increased dramatically. We are at a point today where it is difficult be present anywhere without our image being captured by some camera or our presence being tracked or documented in some way. Although to some extent this is necessary to ensure security, on the other hand it infringes on a person’s right to privacy. The purpose of the “Counter-Surveillance Headdress” is to empower the wearer by allowing him/her to claim a moment of privacy.
The design of the headdress borrows from Islamic and Hindu fashion. The reason behind this is to comment on the racial profiling of Arab and Arab-looking citizens that occurred post-9/11. Unfortunately the fear of terrorism led to the targeting of those of non-western decent. Therefore in its design my headdress is a contradiction; meaning although it’s goal is to hide the wearer it would make the wearer a target of heightened surveillance.
The “Counter-Surveillance Headdress” is a laser tikka (forehead ornament) attached to a hooded vest and reflective shawl. The laser is activated by pressing a button enclosed in the left shoulder area of the vest. When pointed directly into a camera lens, the laser creates a burst of light masking the wearer’s face. Additionally the wearer can use the reflective cloth to cover the face and head. The aluminized material protects the wearer by reflecting any infrared radiation and also disguises the wearer by visually reflecting the surroundings, rendering the wearer’s identity anonymous.
A special thank you to the following for the donation of materials.
Ed Bringas, Tom Igoe and Gary Schober for the laser pointers. Despina Papadopoulos for the conductive ribbon. Gentex corp. for the Dual Mirror aluminized fabric (http://www.gentexcorp.com).
For more information on “camera zapping” with lasers, visit Michael Naimark’s website (http://www.naimark.net/projects/zap/howto.html).
Posted by ges3 at December 12, 2005 09:27 PM