URME represents artist-driven, anti-surveillance devices made for the public. Working as an artist in Chicago, the most widely surveilled city in the nation, and seeing how it has affect the way I behave and think about public space, I have an overwhelming urge to protect the public from such surveillance. Everyone has a right to privacy. As such, all URME Surveillance devices will be SOLD AT COST. This means that there is no profit made in selling these products. All proceeds are used to sustain the project and my ability to provide the public with services. By supporting this campaign you will be contributing to a movement that will bring to surveillance to the forefront of public discourse. Be sure to connect with us via Facebook, Tumblr, or the project website
HOW URME IS DIFFERENT
I have researched several of the strategies out there and there are two major themes. You can either hide your face by wearing something like a ski mask, which looks very suspicious or you can destroy private or public property vis-a-vis security cameras. URME offers a different way. With facial recognition technology being widely used now a days, rather than try to hide or obscure one's face from the camera, these devices allow you to present a different, alternative identity to the camera, my own. When you wear these devices the cameras will track me instead of you and your actions in public space will be attributed as mine because it will be me the cameras see. All URME devices have been tested for facial recognition and each properly identifies the wearer of me on facebook, which has some of the most sophisticated facial recognition software around.
URME SURVEILLANCE IDENTITY PROSTHETIC: Made with technology from www.thatsmyface.com, this device is a photo realistic 3d printed hard resin prosthetic of my face. The prosthetic is passable in public, most people won't look at you twice on the street, and it is pretty seamless to most security cameras.
URME SURVEILLANCE PAPER MASK: sold as an economic DIY kit, these paper masks will protect you from immediate detection and will still tag you as me in facial recognition systems. While the URME paper mask can be used by an individual, they are best used in groups of people in public space, such as activists or protesters.
URME VIDEO FACIAL ENCRYPTOR: This open-source software (MAC ONLY) will protect you from others distributing your media without your permission. Simply load a video and the facial encryption software will replace up to five faces in the video with my own and save it as a new file, which you can then share and send with out fear of your identity being tied to it.
WHY URME NEEDS YOU
Because URME Surveillance does not make a profit off the distributions, I will need to cover the start up costs of the project in order to make it sustainable and to continue providing the public with services.
In addition, URME is a catalyst for public discourse about surveillance, which can not occur without you, the public, getting involved and reasserting our first and fourth amendment rights. Hiding from the system will not result in change. Instead, URME Surveillance subverts the system by flooding it with information about me instead of you. What would happen if security cameras could no longer identify a public but instead could only detect hundreds of me walking down the street? What would that say about the state of surveillance, of identity?
Great! If you would like to experience this project first hand, there will be an art exhibition of this work at the Center for Book and Paper Arts at Columbia College Chicago in the month of May with a reception on May 16th. The exhibition has been graciously supported be the Albert P. Weisman award. More information to come.
OTHER WAYS YOU CAN HELP
URME Surveillance isn't just about anti-surveillance devices. At its core is an instigation towards public discourse and a platform for community development through our common concern over surveillance. Please visit our website, www.URMESURVEILLANCE.com and consider participating on our community page, or join our facebook and tumblr pages. You can still help spread the word about the project, and share this indiegogo campaign with your friends and family.
URME is also starting a new project that brings your opinions to the forefront. URME VOICES is a series of crowd-sourced short interviews, made from people donating their opinion about surveillance. To particpate, send a video of you discussing your relationship to surveillance to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line URME VOICES. Your identity will be protected through URME facial video encryption and slight voice modulation and your interview will join others hosted on the URME Surveillance web page. For an example, please visit http://vimeo.com/88837008