About the Project

SURVEILLANCE: Silence = Death

A Response to Surveillance, Whistleblowers, Consumerism and Culture through Art

Within months of the attack on the World Trade Center President George Bush went on the airwaves and reassured the American people that the nation was secure and life should go on as usual. He encouraged Americans to remain patriotic and as a symbol of their patriotism the American people should go shopping.

This public art installation is in response to these words and will be created from purchased products available after the attack on the World Trade Center. We have collected patriotic decks of playing cards, children’s coloring books illustrating America’s political and military achievements, candles decorated with the monument of the American fallen soldiers, beer mugs with flags, toilet paper with Bin Laden’s face, hot source with pro war slogans, sugar wrapped in the flag and other patriotic household products. One of the souvenir decks of cards being sold around ground zero vilifies the Iraqi military, another called “Operation Iraqi Freedom, ‘Hero’s of War’ – US Military Heroes”, promotes the US military.

(above: Time lapse of the installation in DC)

SURVEILLANCE: Silence = Death will explore consumerism, war and resistance, American culture and capitalism. It hopes to meet head-on the impact of war and the claim that secrecy and spying are in the best interest of protecting the American people. These are some of the questions we hope to pose through this immersive experience. How does our fear support surveillance? How does culture play on our fears? How does collective anxiety work and where does it come from? How does fear justify increased surveillance?


Support for this project was provided by a PSC-CUNY Award, jointly funded by The Professional Staff Congress and The City University of New York