On tuesday the 25th of June, to celebrate the 110th birthday of George Orwell, surveillance cameras in the center of the city of Utrecht were decorated with colorful party hats!
George Orwell is best known for his book ‘1984’, in which he describes a dystopian future society where the populace is constantly watched by the surveillance state of Big Brother.
By putting these happy party hats on the surveillance cameras we don’t just celebrate Orwell’s birthday. By making these inconspicuous cameras that we ignore in our daily lives catch the eye again we also create awareness of how many cameras really watch us nowadays, and that the surveillance state described by Orwell is getting closer and closer to reality. This was a FRONT404 project. You can find more pictures here.
Get the print here!
Get the print here!
This is the propaganda poster I made to draw more attention to my panoptICONS project. “Veilig onder moeders vleugels” means “safe under mother’s wings”. A first version in Dutch was made specifically to be posted in Utrecht, where the panoptICONS project first began. That version has some generically official sounding text about surveillance being for our own good and that if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to worry about. When we started to place camerabirds in other cities, like Amsterdam, the Hague and Brussels, I also made a more general version of the poster. The poster shown below is the English version, which is also for sale though my buy stuff! page.
panoptICONS addresses the fact that we are constantly being watched by surveillance cameras in city centres. The surveillance camera seems to have become a real pest that feeds on our privacy. To represent this, camera birds – city birds with cameras instead of heads – were placed throughout the city centre of Utrecht where they feed on the presence of people. In addition, a camera bird in captivity was displayed to show the feeding process and to make the everyday breach of our privacy more personal and tangible.
Made together with Thomas voor ‘t Hekke as our graduation project at Utrecht school of the arts. Also see the panoptICONS website.