Tracking transience

In 2002, artist and professor Hasan Elahi spent six months being interrogated off and on by the FBI as a suspected terrorist. In response to this experience, he created Tracking Transience, a website that makes his every move available to the FBI – and everybody else.

Tracking Transience is a website where Hasan Elahi uses time-stamped digital photos to track his own whereabouts. In addition to providing his location throughout the day by posting aerial photographs from Google Earth, he has uploaded his cell phone logs and even his bank statements to the website itself.
The artist’s intent is to explore the meaning of identity and privacy in an age of surveillance. While Tracking Transience robs him of his personal privacy, it also provides him with a running alibi, should he ever be falsely accused again.

Sharing of everything or the sharing of nothing?



With the sharing of bank statements and even cell phone logs, it might seem just a tad bit too radical but the reality is that many people are providing just as much personal information on the Internet in only slightly less overt ways.
Whether is it tweeting every aspect of one’s life or the constant updates of your Facebook status to paying your bills or making a purchase on-line.
It could be said that Hasan’s detailed documentation of his life is not at all too different from what we have been doing albeit just in a slightly different medium, especially so today.
However, the point is that by sharing everything we have, what is relevant? Sharing all that information is as good as sharing nothing. And by sharing nothing, what good is that information?
Here’s a copy of his bank statement!Picture-272
All too interesting.

2 thoughts on “Tracking transience”

  1. Good point about how we are all like Hasan Elahi, sharing our data via social media. Interestingly, he started this project years before social media even existed, so clearly he was thinking ahead in terms of the impact that would come as individuals began giving up their data as a global phenomenon. Elahi forces us all to think about the ramifications of the public/private issue, so the project clearly transcended its original intent to subvert surveillance tactics.

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