There is Something I’ve Been Meaning to Ask You (2020)
Interactive Audio Tour
Interactive Audio Tour
Medium: Audio, QR codes
There is Something I’ve Been Meaning to Ask You… is an interactive audio tour through the city center of Rotterdam, bringing together a series of interlinking interviews with architects, designers, artists, software developers, and AI researchers about the increase of surveillance in their daily lives. The interviews took place during the summer of 2020, as the pandemic, track and trace fears, and BLM protests were taking place throughout the world. Launching from Roodkapje Gallery, the audio tour takes the audience throughout Rotterdam’s less explored pathways, pairing personal stories with the everyday experience of moving throughout the city.
In groups of up to ten people, the audience is given headphones and a map and are instructed to find eight QR code stickers placed throughout the city, each code being a chapter to the narrative. Upon scanning of the codes the audience hears personal stories linked directly to the location. Rather than a theoretical discussion on surveillance within the built environment, these stories provide an intimate view from a diverse range of professionals, identities and nationalities, connecting their thoughts on the subject to our own lived experience. The Rotterdam audience is given a new way to look at the places and structures they are familiar with, urging them to reconsider their everyday surroundings as active sites of surveillance.
For example while listening to Chapter 3, architect Beatriz Pero shares her experience and research on the gender politics of the sidewalk and CCTV cameras in Lima Peru. At the same time, the audience stands in a highly surveilled alleyway with multiple forms of CCTV. In Chapter 1 filmmaker Dorothy Cheung describes her experience of the Hong Kong government accessing public transit data in order to arrest participants involved in the student protests, while the listener gazes at rapidly approaching passenger trains. In Chapter 7, listening takes place in the courtyard of the Groothandelsgebouw - a historical building that has uncanny similarities to the panopticon - where we hear software developer Luke Murphy recall his switching to more privacy-respecting technologies in his professional and private life after the Snowden revelations. All interviews are transcribed and can be found at https://surveillancestories.com/