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interactive installationnew media art

Potential Terrorist

interactive installation with projection on a frequented urban public space at night…


If a person moves inside the interaction area, “POTENTIAL TERRORIST” is projected onto the torso of the person and “sticks” there.


After the World Trade Center the international safety regulations were tightened and the fear of terrorism has spread. However, the preventive measures taken under the pretext of security and the war against terrorism are about to constrain fundamental rights and the freedom of people. The recently enacted data retention in Austria or the article § 278a, known as the “mafia article” are the kind of arrangements aimed at preventing terrorism.


The recent trial about the animal rights activists in Austria is a good example of the misuse of these measures. However, retention and mafia paragraphs are only part of the international anti-terrorism measures which also include facial recognition, RFID, the collection of biometric data, … These methods are based on the potential threat by every individual person, who therefore becomes a potential terrorist.


There is general agreement about taking actions against terrorism, but not everybody is aware of the downsides, like restraints on their freedom. POTENTIAL TERRORIST wants to raise the conscious awareness about these possible dangers.
Since the software has no built-in recognition of specific personal characteristics, each person is treated equally and no data is stored anyway.


technical explanation
The infrared camera captures the entire area that is illuminated by infrared lights and sends the image to a software that analyzes and detects any movement on the court. If a person is identified, its position coordinates are analyzed and transformed into the data to navigate the projection. At the same time the software generates the visual information that is displayed on the video projector.
All technology is installed at the same height and position as the widely used surveillance cameras.


On behalf of the authorities in charge it is not allowed to project “POTENTIAL TERRORIST” onto people because of the potential risk of mental disorder. Therefore the concept of the work had to be changed.


the project was realized with the friendly support of Wien Kultur MA7


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2011 Coded Cultures Festival, Vienna


2011 Premiere of the documentary “War on Terror” at Gartenbaukino, Vienna
2011 Coded Cultures Festival, Vienna