Artist Kyle McDonald installed a program on computers in two New York Apple Store locations that automatically takes a photo every minute. Now his personal computers have been confiscated by the U.S. Secret Service.
McDonald’s project was to capture people’s expressions as they stare at computers, a subject he had first explored in a recording he made of his own computer time over two days using the same program.
“I thought maybe we could see ourselves doing this we would think more about our computers and how we’re using them,” he says.
Over the course of the project, McDonald set up roughly 100 Apple store computers to call his servers every minute. That’s a lot of network traffic, and he learned that Apple monitors traffic in its stores when he received a photo from a Cupertino computer of what appeared to be an Apple technician. The technician had apparently traced the traffic to the site McDonald used to upload the program to Apple Store computers — and installed it himself.
McDonald figured that Apple had decided the program wasn’t a big deal. That was until four Secret Service men in suits woke him up on Thursday morning with a search warrant for computer fraud. McDonald, who has a master’s degree in electronic arts, admits the project might make some people uncomfortable.
Kyle McDonald’s work is viewable at the eponymous http://kylemcdonald.net/. He’s a promising artist and I want to see what future revisions of his basic themes and techniques will bring. Who’s going to offer him a residency in a startup accelerator?