The Inverse Surveillance Project

Exhibition by Assia Boundaoui 

The Inverse Surveillance Project takes its name from the concept of citizen under-sight, an action undertaken by the subjects of surveillance reversing the gaze of surveillance systems. It is an art installation co-created with the Arab and Muslim American communities in Chicago, which seeks to build power, compel government transparency and weave new narratives through the creation of an AR-fueled counter archive. The installation consists of a datagram, containing a selection of 200 documents of more than 33,000 pages of declassified U.S. government records collected over a decade of FBI surveillance of this community. Augmented reality (AR) is the catalyst that triggers the community archive and gives access to the neighbourhood's collective memory— in the form of family home videos and photographs — hidden in between the redacted spaces in the government’s official record. Designed as AR for a mobile device, the project repurposes a familiar surveillance tool and invites participants on an immersive journey through a labyrinth of violent state narratives, community memory and the formation of a counter narrative.

Lead Artists: Assia Boundaoui & Yucef Merhi

Producer: Nouha Boundaoui

Key Collaborators: Shirin Anlen, Dr. Kameelah Rashad and families in the Bridgeview Muslim and Arab community.