A first version of this work is featured in the isthisit? issue 5 book, launched at “Terms and Condition May Apply” exhibition at Annka Kultys Gallery, London, in August 2018.

A video installation of this work, named “Faces of Surveillance”, was exhibited at the “Museum of Modern Malware” at DEFCON, Las Vegas, in August 2019.

Surveillance is an imperceptible threat. For years, exposés of the targeted surveillance of human rights defenders, journalists and activists have made into the news, revealing how technology has become a tool in the arsenal of oppressive states to crush dissent.

Spyware, often developed by Western companies and sold to the highest bidders, is recurrently used to silently and invisibly infect computers and mobile phones, in order to record every conversation and track every move of those fighting for freedom and democracy.

These technologies are meant to be stealthy and remain unnoticed. They are designed to escape attention and accountability for as long as possible. The apparent immateriality of spyware makes it unrelatable to the larger public, but, as with any other software, governmental spyware is also an architecture of bytes. It is a living digital being that someone, somewhere, sometime, created with some thousands of lines of code.

This project aims to create a sensorial experience of these spy technologies through visuals and sounds, in an attempt to deconstruct the power of the watchers and tell the stories of their victims. Walking through some of the most prominent and outrageous cases of digital surveillance of human rights defenders, you will be able to see and hear the spyware used by governments around the world.

You can view the complete artwork at surveillance.gallery