No Such Thing as Privacy (Gallery Arts Exhibit)

Geo-locate yourself and broadcast your locations. A group project and exhibit at Disjecta Interdisciplinary Arts Center July 2008

Link to the Press Release: Immaterialized

Makerlab is working in augmented reality-style art and gaming projects to demystify technologies. For the purpose of this and many projects, we have hacked cell phones and begun reprogramming them in creative ways. The project Whereis is created using a voluntary tracking program installed on individuals’ cell phones.

The new iPhone will someday allow developers to install their own apps. However the hacker community today is already able to develop their own applications for this new device. Through this modality of installing unauthorized software on this device we are able to explore the implications of sharing your location 24 hours a day every day.

As communications technology becomes increasingly powerful, new issues of privacy protection are raised. Cell phones allow for any owner’s current location to be tracked continually using cell tower triangulation or GPS locators.

We are all willing to allow privacy to dissipate in consideration of personal safety, when something goes wrong we can know that someone can track us, can save us. But as with any concern for protection of privacy, the opposite must be considered, when these technologies are being used for governmental abuse of power or to create psychographic profiling, the concern is no longer for the persons involved. This project takes control of the tracking technologies already in our hands and brings it back to the personal level.

Where am I at any moment? Where are you? What does a map of my life look like? Instead of governmental or consumer issues, we can look at who we are in relation to where we are. We would like to invite you to plot your lives with us by using the software we have created. The result is an organically generated painting of each person’s daily life overlapping with other individuals’ lives. The movements are mapped and translated into an artwork simultaneously in real time located forever more on our website:

Out of this research we found that different people had radically different life lines, and that a personal contrail was a health indicator of quality of life. As a modern form of tea leaf reading a diagnosis of lifestyles could be made by simply looking at ones life line over time.

Papers that we used in our research on the subject of geo-location tracking, cellphone data-mining and privacy:

Live Data Feeds on our locations (these are no longer active):

Examples visualizations of life lines:

whereisp whereisa