Pop! Goes the Weasel
Pop! Goes the Weasel is an interactive installation that plays with the tensions between the body, the fluidity of identity and wireless Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology. The projected video loop juxtaposes the disconcerting surgical implantation of an RFID microchip into my hand with intimate and seductive stroking of the implantation site. The two microchips, as seen in the x-ray image, each have a unique identity and their implantation into the same body represents a system-confusing blur of identity. I use the body as a site of experimentation to question issues of surveillance, identity and privacy in a time of exponential growth of the data-body.
Pop! Goes the Weasel is an interactive installation using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) to track visitor/participants as they move through the installation. Identities are blurred as RFID tags are shared. The significance of the collected data is shifted as visitors repeatedly have access to and alter the database. This installation aims to remind participants of the ubiquity of surveillance structures and to encourage visceral responses to potential future modes of surveillance. Visitors are given the opportunity to practice intervention in, and subversion and avoidance of RFID surveillance as possible forms of resistance.
From closed circuit TV and video monitoring, email and social media snooping, tracking through credit card usage and location mapping via GPS features of cell phones; surveillance is omnipresent. It may not be the act of surveillance but rather the collection, storage and use of our ‘data identities’ in a centralized database that presents the greatest threat. Who will have access to the database, how will the data be used, how will people be protected from data profiling and marginalization?
This work led to the later development of Exchange project
Associated published essays “Resisting Surveillance: Identity and Implantable Microchips” and “What do we get...”
ISEA: Nagoya, Japan, 2002