For your safety + security

December 2017

A process book made to communicate the team’s process for completing the project.

Collaboration with Anastasiya Vodolagina, Erin Liu, Riya Gokharu and Wonji Jeong.

For your safety + security attempts to playfully subvert the structure of surveillance both within and beyond the state-funded museum. The project refuses the museum’s presumption that the safety of its work hinges on the close monitoring of visitor behaviour. For your safety + security acknowledges that surveillance has calcified within the state-funded museum to the status of given. Sensitive to the broader context of mass surveillance societies, the project refuses an impulse to accept surveillance as necessary to the museum space (and beyond).

Biometric registration is an essential arm of mass surveillance. Whilst ‘confirming identity’, biometrics also affirm the limits of possible movement. In protest against biometrics as a form of currency that affords (or excludes) access, seventeen wearable anti-biometric masks were produced. Biometric facial recognition functions by mapping landmarks (“nodal points”) onto the face; the masks confuse facial scanners by displacing these landmarks. Consequently, facial traits are read as ‘other’ than the wearer’s.

In the museum, wearing the mask plays into an observed-observer dialectic: ‘my adornment signifies my awareness of being observed while observing’. Worn in a wider context, these masks harness the potential for identifying allies, becoming tools for collective protest, and imagining alternative realities.