Meet Kyle McDonald and Brian House: They’re an artist duo who put Wi-Fi-enabled recording devices in lamps, and installed them in a McDonalds, a library, Washington Square Park and a private bedroom. For seven months the lamps picked up and recorded conversations, which were subsequently sent to Mechanical Turk workers, who transcribed the conversations and posted them to the twitter feed @Conversnitch. Wired broke the story this morning, and the two artists released a video, which can be viewed below:
Watching the video or scrolling through the Twitter feed leaves one feeling disturbingly exposed and violated — especially in a city where small apartments mean much of some New Yorkers’ lives are lived in the public sphere. This feeling of unease was the aim of the project, with the express goal of making the public think more about the NSA and mass surveillance.