Articulate Project Space
TRACKER is an interactive artwork about power and surveillance in contemporary society. The work is comprised of three robots that are programmed to follow viewers around the gallery. Each robot also has a video screen that shows a pair of walking feet which have been shot in the manner of a film noir. The work examines a contemporary issue but with reference to earlier surveillance techniques made familiar through movies and spy novels. Like a shady private detective or perhaps an unwanted suitor, the TRACKER robots tail the viewer but always at a distance.
Viewers however can turn the tables and chase down the TRACKERs. Today we are not always the ones being followed. We give away personal information each time we update our online profiles and we stay in touch with friends by following them on Facebook and Twitter.
While the TRACKER robots playfully involve viewers in a cat-and-mouse chase, they also have a more serious side. Each TRACKER is linked by WiFi to the stock price of one of three weapons manufacturers in the US - Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Northrop Grumman. These companies make the fighter jets and robot spy planes, or UAVs, used in Iraq and Afghanistan. As the stock price of a company goes up, its designated TRACKER robot become more 'hawkish' and gets closer to its target.
TRACKER previewed at Articulate Project Space in June 2013 during ISEA2013.
TRACKER (2013) – video documentation. CREDITS: Margaret Seymour - concept and project management. Patrick Barnes - electronics. Michael Gratton - robot programming. Dr Andrew Burrell - interactive video programming.
This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.