Artists Celebrate George Orwell’s Birthday By Putting Party Hats On Surveillance Cameras

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French art duo-Front404 put birthday hats on CCTV cameras for George Orwell’s 110th birthday in the dutch city of Utrecht.

Why bring up a 3 years old street art article? In the post/9/11 west, surveillance camera has become a cultural norm. Once, where CCTV cameras were only for convenience store now they are as common as stoplights.

Before Edward Snowden and his infamous leaks about the surveillance state,people who were more conscious in the early naughts knew of the Patriot Act 1&2.While the first Patriot Act had a sunset clause, the 2nd Patriot act did not and with it set up the architecture of the US security culture.

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When one asks themselves why do people give up their liberties in the pursuit of security? Fear. After 9/11 people were frightened into doing anything and everything because the world they knew, the comfort they cherished was gone.

Then in desperation and rage, the US took the comfort of Iraq and Afghanistan, even though the alleged hijackers were from Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Through those attacks, the Government raised the collective anxiety with the color-coded Homeland Security Advisory System. The Government’s advisory system never when down past yellow, which is elevated and be on constant alert.This where CCTV comes in.

Can’t we watch ourselves all the time? Obviously, we can’t, so the governments of the world have a perfect solution. CCTV work great for catching shoplifters and robbers at the corner store, let’s put cameras on every corner in huge cities so we can stop Terrorism AND crime. Kill 2 birds with one stone.

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But does a surveilled city make it safer? According to the city of London, known as the most spied-on city in the world, crime nor terror have not gone down. London is a city with 1 camera for 11 people and has used CCTV widely since the 80’s.

“The Met police have said that in 2008, only one crime was solved for every 1,000 CCTV cameras,” which was told to Emma Carr of the Big Brother Watch. The city of London spent $807 million on CCTV cameras, one should ask themselves if CCTV doesn’t work why do they put up more?

Because the bleak totalitarian society George Orwell expressed in “1984,” where citizens are spied on and personal freedom sacrificed for the benefit of an all-powerful state, is here and we live in it.

(Article by Jafari Tishomingo)

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