a public installation on the subject of surveillance

»Database« covers the invisible and unnoticed collection of data in both public as well as digital spaces and discusses the use of said information. The installation is situated in an urban gallery space and consists of a continuous printer, a paper shredder and two cameras. The faces of passersby are detected and printed together with a respective data entry, that indicates date, time and number of the capture. They are then going to be processed by the shredder. The digital image files are deleted immediately upon printing. This way the »Database« is gradually filling itself with huge amounts of paper, as a physical representation of the invisible masses of data that are gathered by surveillance systems.

The surveillance of the general public and the corollary collection of data is increasing rapidly with the further development of today’s technological possibilities. It stands in-between the promise of safety and the urge to control. More and more public spaces are being pre-emptively observed by surveillance cameras around the clock, just like data contents and consumer behavior in the digital world is saved, analyzed and evaluated.

Corporations and governments are able to achieve a market and information advantage, which results in a concentration of power. The population is especially threatened through its lack of knowledge of the exact goings-on. Whether on the internet or in public spaces it is often not distinguishable if and by whom surveillance and data collection is being practiced.


Year: 2014
Media: camera, printer, paper-shredder, continuous-paper, openFrameworks, arduino

The installation was realised together with David Ebner and was funded by the Media Fund Rhineland-Palatinate.

Composite Portraits

Additional average faces of the detected people have been calculated and were displayed in a live data-feed on the installations website. Some of the results can be viewed here: Composite Portraits


Bühne – Trier, Germany
July to August 2014

VISUAL – Carlow, Ireland
May to September 2015

La Gaîté lyrique – Paris, France
April to August 2016


L'OBS (fr)
The Creators Project
Prosthetic Knowledge
WIRED (it)
L'OBS (fr)