Boingboing points out a great example of what, I guess, would be termed “surveillance-generated content.” Honestly, I’m not really sure how to describe it, but the gist is that an unsigned British band, looking to conserve money, hit upon the idea of using the 13 million-odd CCTV cameras in the U.K. to create a music video.
Random trivia fact: London has the highest density of surveillance cameras in the world.
The band set up their music equipment, from microphones to drum kit, in eighty different locations, including busses and what appear to be taxi cabs, and then requested all of the footage using the Data Protection Act, an English statute similar to the U.S.’s Freedom of Information Act that mandates any individual should have access to all information collected about them.
Interestingly enough, the video created using this footage (included after the jump) was originally uploaded to YouTube in December of last year, but recent coverage by the Telegraph and by BoingBoing has spurred an resurrected interest in it and the video has appeared a second time on the site, gaining an extra 20,000 views in the span of about 24 hours.
It’s hard for me to place my finger on exactly what makes this seem like something ripe for a viral take-off to me. I think it’s the playful subversive quality of using something designed at best for a serious purpose (e.g. stopping crime) and, at worst, for nefarious uses (e.g. totalitarian monitoring of citizens a la 1984), gives this video a Banksy-esque feel.
Don’t get me wrong, the idea of using CCTV cameras to create video content is not new. Adam Rifkin’s film “Look” is a great example of a movie shot entirely from the perspective of a security camera. What makes the Get Out Clause’s video so great, as well as the DPA-aided work of filmmaker Manu Luksch, such great examples of counter culture is that it utilizes a government act designed to provide information to citizens as a medium to create art. And that’s the stuff that viral videos are made of.
Videos of the Get Out Clause and Manu Luksch’s “Faceless” after the jump.