Surveillance Kawaii is an artwork coinceived
to be developed as a textile pattern design
to be worn through a variety of different
Surveillance Kawaii conceals | reveals secret camouflaged messages hidden in plain sight : a fairy-tale allegory on mass surveillance's defeat.
The pattern design embeds a QR-code printed on fabric which allows the contents to travel publicly, when passersby scan the code, they can read the story enclosed in the pattern.
The project openly aims to spread information on the theme of surveillance and censorship and eluding and deceiving symbols subverting the usual and daily usefulness of clothes.
Wearing apparel plays an unconventional role :
it becomes a bearer of knowledge.
Amongst Renaissance aesthetics and joyful and glowing colors, symbols are glimpsing: a biometric facial recognition diagram, the Panopticon map, a shattered Prism and memes related to the Internet censorship’s matter and social control.
An ironic, ornamental and alienating scenario.
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Surveillance Kawaii plays on the ambiguous
and disturbing imbalances of our contemporary
mass surveilled society, paradoxically combined
with a childish, playful and delicate aesthetic of
a prominent aspect belonging to the culture of
cuteness, the Japanese Kawaii.
The Kawaii as affection to innocent and adorable things claims a more ancient history compared to the perception of the contemporary phenomenon, recognized above all as a commercial-industrial success.
One might venture to says the sprouting foundations of Kawaii culture can be found in literature back with 枕草子 Makura no Sōshi or The Pillow Book by Sei Shonagon in early XI century :
«[...] and indeed all small things, are most adorable».
In Surveillance Kawaii
the cuteness value isn’t merely
exploited as a graphic expedient by its fundamentalist tenderness
and its consumerist entertaining allure, but above all it encloses a metaphor of vulnerability that Kawaii culture promotes and sells, enhancing the same feeling of
fragility on which the entire
surveillance industry thrives,
breeding meekness and fostering collective conformity towards fear and self-censorship.
Surveillance Kawaii exhibits and
underlines the normalization of the mass surveillance’s culture,
the social disciplinary security
disguised by pastel colors and fancy trinkets.