Finally, I'm Being ReCognized




This Instructable is for an "invisibility suit" (or what we in the art-making biz might call a metaphorical object) worn in hopes of locating a balance between our privacy and our protection. It imitates technological solutions to preserving privacy and crosses the border between the digital and the physical. f wearing the suit comments on image representation and the possibility of reclaiming objectivity in interpretations of our actions.

The following steps show you how to re-create a suit which makes your body appear to be pixelated on public surveillance cameras. The concept is based upon developments around surveillance and society, as we are now entering a new privacy paradigm in which this balance between surveillance authority and civil privacy protection is oscillating. In the US, our law enforcement surveillance lacks the technology expertise and manpower to keep pace with global terrorists and criminals, so surveillance has widened by collaborating with private and commercial corporations.
The door swings both ways, and those working under a commerce-based agenda might not have to work too hard at data mining. To date, there is no single comprehensive system which protects all of our personal data.
Yet, with this weight attached to data acquisition, appended to surveillance, we feel a great level of comfort when cameras monitor us in closed public spaces, such as subway tunnels, or during vulnerable hours of the night. We want our bodies and our possessions protected, to take the safest flight back home, no matter how long the delay. In fact some may argue that we've even taken on the behavior of surveillance technology and begun to monitor one another. Bloggers In China Start Testing Limits Of 'Mental Firewall'

The technological advances...
Technologists are creating new software which makes separations in video content between analysis and human interpretation. - in real time individuals/objects pass through a series of event and behavior detection tests, which have been encoded into the viewers' server.

Once your behavior is seen as "passable" , meaning that there is no foul play seen by these systems, then your image becomes pixelated or scrambled, thus preserving your privacy.
For smaller environments, such as school or office security, one's specific bodily behavior , such as gait, can b registered by a main system, then the employee or appropriate person's digital data are encoded with a watermark, their images become scrambled and they are free to move around the space, without any compromise on their identity. demonstrations
Step 4 shows further explains this, see some videos on research and products.

The invisibility suit is a physical manifestation of this technology and ways in which our bodies can be measured as data. Increasingly, biometrical developments encroaching upon the public sphere are at the focus of vast ethical debates.
It also allows us to regain control of scopic impositions, in a sense this suit allows the wearer to assert his or her power of keeping his/her bodily representation objective. It rejects the viewers power to judge, interpret, and apply any values to the person being filmed. the proverbial playing field is leveled and the wearer has sent a semaphoric message to the video viewers- "How can I trust you if you don't trust me?"

By creating and doning such a suit, you are making a symbolic gesture to the people monitoring public surveillance footage to the effect of " hey I know you're watching me, but please be responsible with my data, otherwise I may have to remain 'invisible'. Why don't we negotiate?"
As a bonus, you're also commenting on ways in which our bodies are increasingly turning into digital data!

Step 1: Gather Materials

Here you will have to locate the following:
Fiberglass window screening
Nylon thread, needles
Hot glue gun/ glue, scissors
500-1000 blank 1mil white ID cards (ebay, $25 per 500)
Heavy weight white velcro
Black felt
Digital video camera (if you're feeling proud)

Step 2: Sewing the Screening Together

This design is modeled after the popular Hazmat suit

I recommend starting with the sleeves, then moving on the rest of the body.
The head piece I made separately, so that it could be easily pulled on and off like a "hoddie"

Step 3: Begin Adding ID Cards

After deciding on a design for the hood (I modeled it after armour), begin attaching ID cards.
To give the hood a pixilated look of "flowing" pixels, I started with the bottom of the hood and layered them up. This is optional and involves drilling holes in the cards then attaching them with tiny wire.
For the rest of the suit:
cut ID cards in half, so that they were more movable and squared off.
Hot glue them on to the rest of the body.
I also used packing paper on the inside, so as not to glue the front and back together

Step 4: Does This Suit Really Make Me "invisible"?

Lately, technology has been providing privacy protection in public video surveillance. These systems perform automatic event detection and automatic scrambling of regions corresponding to people, and goods, thus preserving bodily privacy.

Private companies like Eptascape have designed some serious video analysis technology......check it out:

Professors at Berkeley and the University of Kentucky are working hard to create "respectful cameras" Here is a video in which hats transmit scrambling information to surveillance cameras
see the video!

Now that's all well and fine, but we still aren't able to have a say in who can remain anonymous and who remains visible. If such smart technology enters the public realm, who gets to decide if you are authorized to be invisible?

NOT you!

Step 5: Drop Your Suit on the Public!

Here are three different spaces you can start to be recognized, without compromising your identity.

Taking your invisibility suit to the streets opens up dialogue with the public about how important it is that we stay aware of our privacy rights, as well as feel protected and safe.

In the second video, for night time interactions I added reflective tape to the suit. Any thing is fine, as long as you are able to achieve a pixilation effect.

The video depicting the subway monitor shows how you might show acknowledgement of being surveilled, you'll probably have to gesture or act out to the camera that you would like to come to an agreement on how much of your data should stay protected.

Once again, here is the video of a pixelated figure/ image which this project is imitating



    • Fat Challenge

      Fat Challenge
    • Jewelry Challenge

      Jewelry Challenge
    • Pie Contest

      Pie Contest

    65 Discussions


    10 years ago on Introduction

    That is kind of the point of the suit - it's not a genuine attempt at data-invisibility, it's a statement, a protest against the uber-surveilled society we live in.

    We are worst in the UK - a typical trip to the shops can get you picked up on over 300 different cameras.

    The attitude you're only bothered by surveillance if you're up to no good is a fallacious argument. People have a right to privacy, yet there exists a detailed record of our movements and purchases to which we have no access, and often no direct awareness.

    Constant monitoring allows government and corporate access to areas of our lives to which they have no right. In this modern atmosphere of fear of them, almost anything can become a crime, sometimes retrospectively, so such a record is more and more a concern.

    For instance, a pending change in UK law makes it illegal to possess photos of certain private activities; even though the acts themselves are perfectly legal, and apparently quite commonly performed, a single click of a camera shutter can earn you a prison sentence. How do they know you've taken the photo? If they suspect you have the photo, they can raid your house and take your computers for months or years, expose you to public ridicule and then not apologise.

    8 replies

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Occasionally, something gets done about that attitude. Witness The Hurtt Prize, I am sorry to say that noone has ever managed to claim it - but I'm not sure how many people attempted. My friends and I compiled a list of the crimes regularly committed by our Chief of Police, but knowing about something and being able to assemble unassailable video documentation of an offense are two different things. (It also doesn't help that the person in question lives an hour away by freeway and is actually difficult to keep up with once he starts driving)


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    That last line right there would indicate a simple way to catch him breaking the speed limit, then!


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    what pending change is that? i havent heard of it, which worries me, and are you as infuriated as i am by A: the judges who have created precedent for not allowing anonymous giving of evidence and B : the parliamentary members trying to usurp the monarchy


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Seems like we are mice in a cage in an observatory with next to knowledge that we are any where but just doing what it is we are doing while being viewed from every angle and everything we do can be written down and recorded. Slaves to those who deem themselves more worthy.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    You have the right to see and have copies of All data about you, this includes camera surveillance footage, it may cost you about £10 for it but any information about you that they have you have a right to see.. and they cannot refuse. UK information act thingy.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    But, they do not have to tell you that they possess any information about you - you cannot ask for what you do not know exists.

    Plus, just because I have the right to a copy of it, I do not have the right to have the information deleted or expunged, even if it is not evidence of a crime, because it might be evidence at a later date. It is not illegal for me to buy methylated spirits, but methylated spirits could be used as a solvent or reactant in the manufacture of several illicit substances, both drugs and explosives, so (as for several such substances in the US, I am led to believe) the purchase or possession of methylated spirits could be made illegal in the future.

    A quick perusal of CCTV footage, and I have Plod kicking in my door.


    9 years ago on Step 5

    But that just makes people in public think your a little insult intended here. Personaly, I think it might be more interesting to make a suit that appears to be normal everyday attire, but shows up on security cameras as a pixelatted or blacked out. For example. Take a hat, shirt, pants, and cover them with IR leds. That way, the majority of security cameras would see you as a big white spot walking by. You may even be able to hide the leds under the clothing since IR light passes right through most fabrics. This would send a clear message to "big brother" without having to explain yourself to everyone in the streets. It would be interesting to wear such a thing around, and see how long it takes before you're questioned.......probably not too long. I do like your concept though.

    2 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    that guy didn't know what he was doing. He used IR LEDs with a low angle output. some have a low angle output of about 5 to 10 degrees, but they do make high angle output more like 80 degrees or more. That way the IR covers a broad area instead of being focused. there are also other wyas to disperse the light by using lenses. you just have to put some thought into it.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Sort of neat I guess.... Maybe if you replaced the white cards with mirror tiles you would have better results? Interesting concept. Cheers.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    "Who cares if Big Brother is watching, if you're doing something illegal, then stop it and you wouldn't have to worry" Yeah people. If you're a good person and don't do anything wrong, what do you have to worry about? Only criminals fear cameras. I, for one, think there should be security cameras in every single home in the world. That way, the police can watch what we do in private to make sure we're not committing crimes. I mean...only criminals and terrorists wouldn't want that right? Also, all of our phone calls, emails, letters, and even our speech should be recorded 24/7 for the same reason. Since current law enforcement doesn't have the means to do this...we should create a new arm of the government. We could call it Miniluv.

    6 replies

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    ... and if you do kiss your freedom and your ability to think and act as freely as you do daily goodbye.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    methinks you missed the George Orwell reference, and the sheer impossibilty of what he was stating seemed dripping with sarcasm to me =p


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    I thought the 'Ministry of Love' reference would be enough to drive home the extreme sarcasm of my post....


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    I don't think they got the reference, Mr.Orwell. But we did, and we'll be sending someone over to check up on your "mental state". Have a nice day. Sincerely The Guys down at the Ministry