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People Staring at Computers” is a photographic intervention.

I wrote a simple application that took one picture every minute. If it found a face, it uploaded the photo to my server. I installed the app around NYC over three days, collecting more than a thousand photos.

Before sharing the photos online, I decided to exhibit them in the same places they were originally captured. So I wrote another app that could be remotely triggered after being installed on all the computers in one location. When the app starts up, it takes a picture and slowly fades in that photo. A moment later, it starts cycling through older photos.

Most people instinctively quit the app less than 10 seconds after recognizing their own face, so the exhibition was relegated to the unused machines.


(Images replaced by Evan on July 15, 2011)

COMMENTS

  1. Pavel Lishin says:

    Have you gotten any angry responses?

  2. kyle says:

    not from anyone on location. during the exhibition, people were just confused and laughed. when asking the employees if it was generally ok to take photos and video, they not only said “yes”, they encouraged it.

  3. bernardo says:

    well this why.
    the true meaning for freedom
    and the true resolution for it: we can’t stand ourselves….

  4. ttttt says:

    welcome to FAT Kyle. welcome to FAT.

  5. ttttt says:

    forced dailybooth.com haha

  6. Aram says:

    FREE KYLE!!

    Feds visit artist behind People Staring at Computers, confiscate laptop

    http://eyeteeth.blogspot.com/2011/07/feds-visit-artist-behind-people-staring.html

  7. ernie nitka says:

    Why would the Feds be involved? Apple is a private corp. ??!! Shit we have at least three regional research labs in this country that got hacked this weekend and this is what they want to concentrate on – total fukin BS

  8. [...] “When asking the employees if it was generally ok to take photos and video, they not only said ‘yes’, they encouraged it,” he wrote in an explanation of the project. [...]

  9. [...] “When asking the employees i&#102&#32&#105t was generally ok to take photos and video, they &#110&#111&#116 only said ‘yes’, they encouraged it,” he wr&#111&#116&#101 in an explanation of the project. [...]

  10. Joe says:

    Stand up for your rights. If you can be fleeced daily by a corporation, then they can put up with the idiosyncrasies that comes along with their customers. I can’t believe the Secret Service is involved with this. Consuming entertainment media all day long is a recipe for forgetting history. Remember the SS.

  11. This app was installed without an Administrator account, yet it can control the webcam & upload images remotely.

    How long until this app installs itself on to the laptop in your bedroom?

  12. jay moore says:

    Did Kyle install the app or just run it off a stick and remove the stick? Apple puts these things in its Stores for people to try out, they don’t force anyone to sign any agreements before they try out running a program on them, or limiting what programs they are allowed to run. Can’t see any wrongdoing here.

  13. [...] “People Staring at Computers” is a photographic intervention. Most people instinctively quit the app less than 10 seconds after recognizing their own face, so the exhibition was relegated to the unused machines. http://fffff.at/people-staring-at-computers [...]

  14. [...] Macdonald claims it’s an art project. The U.S. Secret Service is not so sure. Check out People Staring at Computers and come to your own [...]

  15. [...] collected to create a presentation that he hoped would give us, by the facial expressions captured, insight into our relationship with the computers we use:Image from NotcotAn interesting project that borders on creepy. But it is illegal? Apparently, the [...]

  16. Kootenay says:

    It’s one thing to take people’s photos, with or without their permission, in a public place. In a private space, it’s invasion of their privacy without their consent. And, as theiPatch dotCom says, whose to stop creepy people from installing such a program on people’s home laptops and computers? Think of what happened to those schoolkids in Lower Merion, PA, when a creepy administrator was taking photos of them and storing them. Get people’s permission first for your art projects if you’re in a private space; instead, undertake it in a public space, using your own equipment. And please, leave underage children out of it!

  17. jaundist says:

    It will be a cold day in heaven when the strains of “Don’t let money fool you” by the OJ’s ring out in the halls of 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino, CA.

  18. AM says:

    Huh!
    it didn’t seem like the time to fight a free speech issue …” said Evan Roth.

    Who are you trying to kid? this has nothing to do with free speech, it’s to do with you doing what you want to do regardless of anyone else’s right to privacy.
    It’s immature, irresponsible and crass – not in the least bit cool!

    Now,if Apple are doing the same and using face recognition software to identify the people in the screens that’s different and the project could have been done with informed consent, in such a way that would highlight Corporation, Big Business spying on people and invasion of privacy.

    Shame you didn’t think that one through – it’s stupid actions like this that make for more control.

  19. Arlene says:

    The real problem with this is computer pictures of people staring at screens are aesthetically ugly. The double chins, the total lack of self-consciousness — ultra-real to a fault.

  20. [...] He kept the pictures from the stores on the Web site — but posted a mask on each one. The face on all the masks: Steve Jobs. [...]

  21. [...] alla volta. Il suo progetto più recente è un’altra svolta concettuale sullo spyware. ‘People staring at computers‘ è una semplice applicazione che esegue un’istantanea da webcam ogni minuto e la [...]

  22. [...] all that controversial. Slack-jawed, their eyes glazed over, the subjects of Kyle McDonald’s “People Staring at Computers” appear deeply focused or even caught at a bad moment. How McDonald obtained the images is what [...]

  23. [...] all that controversial. Slack-jawed, their eyes glazed over, the subjects of Kyle McDonald’s “People Staring at Computers” appear deeply focused or even caught at a bad moment. How McDonald obtained the images is what [...]

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