Finally one can get more out of spying on the neighbors than a simple voyeuristic thrill, and this year's winner of the Ars Electronica
Golden Nica for Interactive Art, artfully shows us how. Park View Hotel
by India-based artist Ashok Sukumaran
uses surveillance systems to examine the contested relationships between surveillance, private property, and public space. Originally conceived for ISEA
2006 in San Jose, California, Sukumaran set up spotting scopes in Cesar Chavez Plaza and corresponding sensors inside the windows of the nearby Fairmount Hotel. When properly aimed, the spotting scopes would optically 'ping' the sensors, illuminating the room with a variety of colors. That specific color was then wirelessly transmitted back into the public square, illuminating the nearby light posts with the corresponding hue. This cycle of intrusion, capture, and reconfiguration between the public nature of the town square and the implied privacy of a hotel room illustrates eerily, but also poetically, how the public has the potential to override the binary relationship of public versus private.