a project by Daniel Buzzo
see other projects at buzzo.com

The ‘Signs of Surveillance’ project has grown from a photographic observation and collation activity that began in early 2016. Since that time thousands of photographs of ‘signs of surveillance’ have been captured from more than 15 countries including Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxemburg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and UK.

The pervasive nature of surveillance, and the normalisation of the signs – both physical and metaphorical, is arresting when it is laid out how clearly intertwined this silent over-watch of endless surveillance cameras has become with our everyday lives. Across Europe and the wider globe, surveillance of the body public, of civic space, of every interaction in everyday society seems at saturation point.

This project aims to engage the public across Europe in a discussion of the surveillance colonisation of the physical environment around us by building, visualising and exploring an international database of ‘signs of surveillance’.

The existing corpus of images comprises over 2000 digital photographs taken across the globe since 2016. Each image is date, time and location tagged allowing easy geographic mapping and search and retrieval.

  • A compendium of the designs, locations and forms of the myriad of sign-types
  • A ‘traditional’ print exhibition of the most aesthetically pleasing photographs
  • An interactive 3D geo-map based visualisation (see figure 1)
  • An online web based searchable catalogue that asks for public contribution to extend and complete the European map of ‘Signs of Surveillance’
  • Training a Machine Learning system (Expected to be a Cascade Classifier or similar) on the corpus of signs to enable automatic sign recognition.

The source code for the current online version is available here;