Self Surveillance

December 14, 2007

If you extend the mode of self-measurement to its extreme you get a state that approaches what Hasan Elahi calls “self-surveillence.”

A few years ago Elahi, a new media artist, was stopped by the FBI in an airport after 9/11 and interviewed as a suspect. Of what he was never told. But the interrogation bugged him. In the effort to prove himself innocent he flooded the agencies with all the data about himself — his travels, his phone records, pictures of every meal, all his expenses. He kept dumping this huge database about himself on them till they beseiged him to stop.  But he kept documenting his own life in minute detail, and making it “public” as an art project. There’s press about it.

Since the winter of 2002, Hasan Elahi has documented every urinal he’s used. He’s photographed every plate of noodles he’s eaten. His every movement, in fact, has been tracked through a GPS device in his cell phone and posted online.

It is a bit like lifelogging, but transparent lifelogging.

You can track Hasan in real time on this Trackingtransience site.

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Here a video of Hasan’s PopTech talk about his program, which he says is a conceptual art work. Wired article about his efforts.

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