We all know what security cameras look like. In fact, we’re so used to seeing them that we hardly notice them.
We’re even welcoming surveillance equipment into our homes. Read: The Domestication of Surveillance: We Are the Watchers.
But a number of artistic, design, and activist projects have set out to make us see these ubiquitous objects in new ways. Here are our favorites:
1. Rhinestone-encrusted security cameras
Artist Jill Magid’s System Azure project, “hand-glued rhinestones to security cameras at the Amsterdam Headquarters of Police using permanent adhesive.” This cuts right to the heart of a key question about security cameras: As long as they see us, shouldn’t we be sure to notice them?
2. Security cameras recording nothing
Street artist SpY installed “150 fake CCTV cameras on the facade of a building [in Madrid] with the intention of watching over nothing.”
3. Every security camera on a 1.4-mile walk
For the photo project “Every CCTV Camera,” James Bridle documented “Every CCTV camera between my house and Dalston Junction: 1.4 miles, 140 cameras.” Flickr set is here.
4. A security camera that cannot meet your gaze
The (In)Security Camera: If you walk up and look right at it, it looks away. “The camera is, in fact, a little insecure.”
5. Adorable security cameras
Taking a lighter approach: Italian firm Parson offers cameras in cute and whimsical shapes: That’s not a threat to your privacy, it’s an adorable squirrel! Or maybe it’s both?
7. “Security camera” that’s totally for the birds
How about a bird feeder that looks like a classic CCTV camera? Just $19.99!
7. That time security cameras partied for Orwell
To celebrate George Orwell’s birthday: Party hats adorned cameras around Utrecht, Netherlands. (Thanks to some enterprising artists, not the city itself, of course.)
8. Security cameras as decorative object
Asymmetric Love Number 2 was “intended to mimic an iconic baroque chandelier” that just happens to be made out of CCTV cameras. “Surveillance is not perceived as a direct threat, which becomes the biggest threat of all.”
9. DIY security (pinhole) camera
The Pinhole CCTV Kit, a how-to: “Turn this five page template into a functioning pinhole CCTV camera.”
10. Security camera as home furnishing
Surveillance 100: “This ironic work uses the typical appearance of a surveillance camera to create a striking standing lamp.” Perhaps this will keep your guests on their best behavior when you’re out of the room?
11. And finally, just because it’s impossible to resist
Note: This post was updated to correct the number of security cameras on the Madrid street art project — not 15, but 150.