Monthly Archives: December 2011

Art of Clean up

Swiss artist Ursus Wehrli has gone to extreme lengths to clean up art. In his book The Art of Clean Up Wehrli embarks upon a tedious mission to make the messy tidy; he even tackles famous paintings by Pollock and Van Gogh in a bid to clean them up (see his TEDtalks video: Ursus Wehrli 整理艺术 | )
Oh, Man! I thought that I was a tidy person… …

TED视频:Ursus Wehrli整理艺术
Ursus Wehrli 向我们分享他对艺术的展望 – 一种更干净﹐更工整的艺术形式 – 先解构所有当代艺术大师的作品﹐再按着颜色﹐形状﹐大小排列整齐。唯有对生活乐观,有细致入微的观察力,对美有耐心的人,才能有这样的艺术成就。

Big Brother is watching you! So what?!


哈桑是大学教授,但FBI错误地把他列入监视名单,并扣押他,质问他6个月前的某天具体在干嘛?这哥们打开智能手机,展示当天以及前前后后几天的时刻表,精确到分钟,并解释每个细节。当时虽然解除怀疑,可他很是不爽,就开始自己独特的报复计划——持续给FBI打电话写邮件——自己在哪、在干嘛——一种无终结日期的独特的行为艺术,他还不过瘾,后来干脆建了自曝网站 ,把每个时刻都拍下来,宾馆、房间号、床、火车站、菜谱、吃饭、上厕所等等等等,无论大小细节,统统上传网上,几年内已经记录了成千上万的图片,为了更好地记录地址,他还将随身的GPS数据导入Google地图,很容易就能看到他在哪里。他认为最好的保护隐私的方法就是公开它,让行为暴漏在阳光下。


知名的《连线》杂志这么点评:”He figures the day is coming when so many people shove so much personal data online that it will put Big Brother out of business.”


Hasan Elahi whips out his Samsung Pocket PC phone and shows me how he’s keeping himself out of Guantanamo. He swivels the camera lens around and snaps a picture of the Manhattan Starbucks where we’re drinking coffee. Then he squints and pecks at the phone’s touchscreen. “OK! It’s uploading now,” says the cheery, 35-year-old artist and Rutgers professor, whose bleached-blond hair complements his fluorescent-green pants. “It’ll go public in a few seconds.” Sure enough, a moment later the shot appears on the front page of his Web site,

There are already tons of pictures there. Elahi will post about a hundred today — the rooms he sat in, the food he ate, the coffees he ordered. Poke around his site and you’ll find more than 20,000 images stretching back three years. Elahi has documented nearly every waking hour of his life during that time. He posts copies of every debit card transaction, so you can see what he bought, where, and when. A GPS device in his pocket reports his real-time physical location on a map.

Elahi’s site is the perfect alibi. Or an audacious art project. Or both. The Bangladeshi-born American says the US government mistakenly listed him on its terrorist watch list — and once you’re on, it’s hard to get off. To convince the Feds of his innocence, Elahi has made his life an open book. Whenever they want, officials can go to his site and see where he is and what he’s doing. Indeed, his server logs show hits from the Pentagon, the Secretary of Defense, and the Executive Office of the President, among others.

The globe-hopping prof says his overexposed life began in 2002, when he stepped off a flight from the Netherlands and was detained at the Detroit airport. He says FBI agents later told him they’d been tipped off that he was hoarding explosives in a Florida storage unit; subsequent lie detector tests convinced them he wasn’t their man. But with his frequent travel — Elahi logs more than 70,000 air miles a year exhibiting his art work and attending conferences — he figured it was only a matter of time before he got hauled in again. He might even be shipped off to Gitmo before anyone realized their mistake. The FBI agents had given him their phone number, so he decided to call before each trip; that way, they could alert the field offices. He hasn’t been detained since.

So it dawned on him: If being candid about his flights could clear his name, why not be open about everything? “I’ve discovered that the best way to protect your privacy is to give it away,” he says, grinning as he sips his venti Black Eye. Elahi relishes upending the received wisdom about surveillance. The government monitors your movements, but it gets things wrong. You can monitor yourself much more accurately. Plus, no ambitious agent is going to score a big intelligence triumph by snooping into your movements when there’s a Web page broadcasting the Big Mac you ate four minutes ago in Boise, Idaho. “It’s economics,” he says. “I flood the market.”

Elahi says his students get it immediately. They’ve grown up spilling their guts online — posting Flickr photo sets and confessing secrets on MySpace. He figures the day is coming when so many people shove so much personal data online that it will put Big Brother out of business.

For now, though, Big Brother is still on the case. At least according to Elahi’s server logs. “It’s really weird watching the government watch me,” he says. But it sure beats Guantanamo.