Paparazzi Bots

Year: 
2009
Format:
installation interactive

The installation features a series of Paparazzi Bots, each a tech-hybrid of camera and cameraman, which subtly stalks exhibition visitors. They seek one thing, which is to photograph these visitors, and make themselves famous.

Comprised of multiple cameras and sensors on a custom-built rolling platform, the Paparazzi Bots move at the speed of a walking human. They select a person to photograph, automatically stop, adjust their focus and record the moment with several flashes. The photos are then propagated using the press, the web, and social networking sites, elevating their subjects to ‘celebrities’ and ‘celebritising’ the Paparazzi Bots along with them.

As well as making a pointed statement on culture’s obsession with the ‘celebrity image’, the Paparazzi Bots refer to the increasing ubiquity of machine surveillance. We are often photographed by cellphones and hidden cameras and ‘celebritised’ without our knowledge. At the same time, social networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook and Twitter, have created a marked trend towards self-publicity. The line between self-publicity and surveillance will become ever more blurred in the conditional future, we find ourselves moving into.