Nu Sigma Alpha
This piece was intended to address Carnegie Mellon’s role in the increasingly expansive culture of surveillance both in the US and internationally. We saw the format of a fraternity as a humorous way to compare the NSA’s recruitment techniques to the much more casual commitment of joining a frat. This comparison satirizes the casual nature in which CMU students decide to work for the NSA and other branches of the military industrial complex. With the speaker mounted atop CFA we wanted to demonstrate how the seemingly private or personal act of taking a photo is uploaded to a wider database and is actually in no way a personal act.
The speakers on top of the room of CFA, command a place of power and authority on campus, due to its central location and height. By distancing, amplifying and broadcasting the shutter clicks from this vantage point, we were attempting to emphasize how each innocuous shutter click, each innocent piece of information about ourselves that we give actually has resounding and far reaching effects. It is not just an image file stored in your phone. Rather, it has been inducted into a vast distributed network of information flow in which the meaning of property and privacy are vastly different and more loose than we think. Secondly, the sound was meant to emphasize the magnitude of the situation. Every photo taken was done so with the explicit consent of the subject, probably under the assumption that it was no big deal. It’s just a photo after all, right? Each photo, each email address, each piece of your life that is taken from you is another nail in the coffin of your freedom, another rung in the ladder to a police state, and will have resounding effects, echoing all through campus, this nation, and the rest of your life.
installing speakers on the roof: HIGH SECURITY CONTENT
Click here to see Nu Sigma Alpha’s Instagram!
Instagram is a social media database where pictures of content are linked and divided according to hashtags. Tagging CMU student’s faces with things like #facesoftheNSA, #surveillance, and #dronestrike not only creates the association between our school and the NSA, but puts our faces into a greater database, grouped alongside pictures of drones, weapons, and topics of national security. Our process of social media categorization mimics the NSA’s own ability to extract, evaluate, and categorize our personal information into unreachable databases.
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