Adam Harvey

Think Privacy

An orange lettering "Todays Selfie is Tomorrows Biometric Profile" can be seen on a large rectangular frameless mirror. The installation stands outside in front of the entrance south of the zoo.

Year
2016

Medium / Material / Technic
Mirror, text

Place
south entrance zoo

The mirror invites passers-by to make a self-portrait, but the words on its surface warn: »Today's selfie is tomorrow's biometric profile.« Social media platforms provide numerous possibilities to upload and share personal data, yet user-friendly information on how customer data is used is lacking. Adam Harvey explains that biometric analysis of our photographs online may be used for commercial purposes and for social control – for instance, to analyze information about the followers of a presidential campaign. Among the examples are software MegaFace and Janus, which gather biometric data from the web and social media platforms.


Harvey has been working on the topic of privacy since 2010. Among his projects are camouflage against face-recognition systems and a concept store for anti-surveillance equipment. »Think Privacy«, officially launched in 2016, continues his preoccupation with the protection of personal data. The Karlsruhe iteration of Think Privacy, even more topical after the 2018 Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal, continues Harvey’s campaign to raise awareness about the problematics of unrestrained data collection and invites viewers to reflect on the role of art and design in protecting privacy.