2.4Ghz, detourned surveillance


The new project by RECYCLISM ™ is hitting, as many media artists are doing yet, the prosperous muse of wireless technologies. 2.4Ghz™ exploits wireless netcams populating the urban space in a very simple but interesting way. BNJMN™ GAULON (alias Benjamin Gaulon) has been riding the streets of a few European cities with a wireless video receiver, like the ones used by parents to remotely watch over their babies. His aim was to detect and record the floating video signals emitted by those network cameras like in the historical work Life’s a User’s Manual by Michelle Teran. GAULON’s project also points out how an increasingly spreading technology of surveillance can be smartly used to acquire data from other surveillance technologies. The detournement as a way of creating conflict within society was a practice widely experimented by the situationist movement (whose theories directly inspire RECYCLISM). But actually the theories of Michel De Certau and his ‘practices of everyday life’ are maybe more appropriate to interpret 2.4Ghz experience. It changes usage patterns whose consumption is normally assigned to, converting an establishment tool into a weapon potentially useful for our daily practice of liberation. Surveillance cameras were also at the core of the Interception performance, where the cameras’ physical hijacking and its use in other more explicit contexts pushes people to easily realize their privacy invasion. But 2.4Ghz tries to make more explicit those signals freed in the air, claiming their accessibility by anyone with a wireless video receiver being not only an observation target but also a more conscious observer. It’s interesting the way the whole RECYCLISM™ project is publicly presented: the device is attached to street lamppost, to reveal live the presence of cameras around broadcasting video signals. The project is somehow making a statement about the open economy of the trash (defined as material without owner), which allows people and artists to acquire new stuff and transform it into something with a value. Nevertheless, this position is sarcastically contradicted with all the ™ symbols accurately added to any project’s name, establishing a private property claim that trash had originally lost.

Tony Canonico