Gait DNA surveillance

Watch this video, made by UK video artist Chris Oakley made in 2004:

oakley.jpg

It’s a play on surveillance and, well:

Crystallising a vision of ‘us seen by them’, The Catalogue explores the codification of humanity on behalf of corporate entities. Through the manipulation of footage captured from life in the retail environment, it places the viewer into the position of a remote and dispassionate agency, observing humanity as a series of units whose value is defined by their spending capacity and future needs.

Now I’m not making this up, but now read this BBC news report from yesterday:

“So we have height and tracking and your gait DNA”.

“Gait DNA?” I interrupted, raising my head, so inadvertently my full face was caught on a video camera.

“Have we got that?” asked their teacher Professor Rama Challapa. “We rely on just 30 frames – about one second – to get a picture we can work with,” he explained.

Gait DNA, for example, is creating an individual code for the way I walk. Their goal is to invent a system whereby a facial image can be matched to your gait, your height, your weight and other elements, so a computer will be able to identify instantly who you are.

“As you walk through a crowd, we’ll be able to track you,” said Professor Challapa. “These are all things that don’t need the cooperation of the individual.”

When I first saw the Oakley video a couple of weeks ago at the locative media conference it was presented as fiction, maybe amusing, maybe scary. Little did either the artist or the audience know that it was also, for someone in some anonymous building somewhere, inspiring.

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