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Data-Gathering Devices Become Spying Face In This Interactive Mobile Sculpture

Neil Mendoza’s I Spy features Android tablets that stare back at us.

I Spy from Neil Mendoza on Vimeo.

If you’re one of the many people who rushed to download Google’s new iOS map app, then you’ll know what a privacy-invading little thing it is. More than just content to help us get from A to B, it also wants to know our home address and collect data regarding our movements so it can improve its services—which basically means it’s spying on us, so it can gather info about where we’ve been and what our interests are so its advertisers can target us more effectively.

This culture of spying is what artist Neil Mendoza looks at in his mobile sculpture I Spy. The work is made up of four Android tablets that make up a face of two eyes, a nose, and a mouth which can follow people around and track our movements using a Kinect—gazing back at us in a literal interpretation of the inconspicuous data-gathering our devices do on a day-to-day basis.

Mendoza explains:

This piece questions the role that all of the little gadgets we use from day to day play in our lives. Frequently, they are a form of escapism, used to avoid thinking and interacting by staring into the information space. Often they are being used as a tool to spy on us and gather data about our habits. For once, they are "consciously" staring back at us, moving and following viewers around.