The Ministry of Silly Walks takes on Surveillance Capitalism

A playful yet functional proposal of how to evade a technology of surveillance capitalism

We walk with a gait as distinctive as our fingerprint. So even when a camera can’t see our face, gait detection AIs are able to detect who we are.

Monty Python have a sketch called the Ministry of Silly Walks. In theory, these silly walks could evade these detections, the equivalent of covering your face for a traditional surveillance camera. We are developing a gait detection AI and tricking it with silly walks. The project is a playful yet functional proposal of how to evade surveillance capitalism.

We will present it as an interactive installation, where visitors will play with our AI tricking surveillance technology.

Our realisation will demonstrate the potential of this messy, intimate approach to resist technology structures and create alternative realities.

Body, Pleasure and Humour

The discourse around data and tech tends to be either techno-utopian, each week declaring that a new tool is going to solve everything, or hopeless dystopian, where we are vulnerable and constantly watched.

As an antidote to this, we are inspired by non-violent protest movements such as Otpor!, the Yes Men and Pomarańczowa Alternatywa (Orange Alternative) who engage with injustice through humour and play to tackle issues where other tactics have failed. Like these groups, the project will play with applications of surreal comedy, such as Monty Python, and physical comedy, such as Buster Keaton, to take on issues that otherwise have seemed impenetrable to criticism.

We want to recenter our way of subverting this hopeless future around the body and the pleasure, affirming our capacity to create and subverting this tools and reimagining them in the hands of the people.

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