Public Space in the Age of Big Data is a project that aims to challenge the status quo of surveillance systems, by changing the nature of its very core – the surveillance camera.

Security cameras rule public spaces. They are all around us, existing in complete silence. Their cold, motionless stare can create a feeling of unease, or result in an awkward, one sided interaction between the camera and an individual.

By changing the behaviour of the camera, to mimic how people often react when confronted with a stranger, it opens up the interaction into a polite, two-sided one. 

As soon as the camera senses an individual, it says “sorry” and then shyly looks away for a few seconds. This action renders the space “insecure”, providing the individual with the agency to reclaim the public space.

The cameras installed outside and in the corridor create an inviting atmosphere to draw people into the exhibition space. Once there, they are faced with a vision of an Orwellian future; a death of public space, privacy and a society run by a digital dictatorship. By subverting the expectations when entering the space, we want to encourage critical engagement and start a discussion about the regulations of public space security

Shown at Park Associati during Milano Design Week 2019

The interactive camera says “sorry” and looks away when senses a person within its frame.

© Weixiao Shen 2021 All rights reserved