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<nettime-ann> SVEN - Beach and World Van Tour '06
Amy Alexander on Wed, 28 Jun 2006 16:58:33 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime-ann> SVEN - Beach and World Van Tour '06

SVEN - Beach and World Van Tour '06

June 2006: SVEN - Surveillance Video Entertainment Network (aka "AI to the People") - makes its street debut.

The SVEN van - aka "SVAN" - kicked off its Beach and World Tour on the streets of San Diego. Vying for attention with the ocean and The GAP, the SVAN mobile surveillance music video unit rolled into the upscale beach community of La Jolla. Parking by the surf and in the downtown shopping district, the SVEN van set down its brake and set up its camera, video screen and sound system in search of undiscovered rock stars.

What is SVEN?

SVEN is the project that asks the question, "If computer vision technology
can detect when you look like a terrorist, criminal, or other nasty type -
why not have it detect when you look like a rock star?"

SVEN stands for "Surveillance Video Entertainment Network," and SVEN takes the Entertainment part very seriously. Why? Because people already take surveillance seriously - it's scary, after all. But that's just because it's almost always used in ways that scare and mystify people.

So, SVEN has responded by developing some far more entertaining surveillance technology. The SVEN system, using custom computer vision algorithms, detects when a pedestrian looks like music video star, and converts boring surveillance video into a music video before onlookers' eyes. Since it's a surveillance system, rock-star pedestrians don't know when they're being watched. But anyone looking on at the SVAN can witness the newly-discovered stars' 15 seconds of fame.

Why the Beach?

SVEN believes the beach is an overlooked but auspicious site for public interruption. Beachgoers represent some interesting cross-sections of the population.

Why the World?

The world is an auspicious site for public interruption too.

Why Computer Vision?

Like all technologies, computer vision is subjective. What makes someone look like a terrorist? Does software "profile" the same way humans do? SVEN develops its own algorithms - in this case, with the aim of using software to quantitatively idenitfy "desirable"
pedestrians instead of "undesirable" ones.

Why Video?

The contemporary collision of surveillance, television, and perhaps all forms of video is familiar by now. What used to be very different forms of video have somehow become indiscernible. But how does the semiotics of film language play into all this? What happens to surveillance footage when the language of narrative and music video is applied to it? SVEN
algorithmically composes and edits surveillance footage in real-time, music video style.

Enough background! What Next?

The SVEN van will be making appearances in various cities throughout the summer and fall - both randomly-occuring city drives and scheduled drives held in conjunction with hosted events. A comparative study of culturally and recreationally diverse beach populations is in the works.

Next Scheduled SVENCOUNTER:

July 12, 2006: Escher-Wyss-Platz. Zürich.
Hosted by the Digital Art Weeks Conference: http://www.jg.inf.ethz.ch/wiki/DAW/Front.
(Drive on July 12; Talk on July 13)


August 7-13, 2006: Downtown San Jose, California
Hosted by the ISEA 2006 Symposium / ZeroOne San Jose Festival

Coming this fall: SVEN open source computer vision software for public spaces.

SVEN is being developed on an ongoing basis, so changes to software and
presentation are made continually.

SVEN Development/Production Team '06: Amy Alexander, Wojciech Kosma, Vincent Rabaud
Production Assistants/Roadies: Marilia Maschion, Annina Ruest
Initial SVEN Development by: Amy Alexander, Jesse Gilbert, Nikhil Rasiwasia

More info, pictures, videos, and theoretical text:
Contact: sven06 (fill_in_the_symbol) deprogramming.us

Note - Mail sent to the email address in the header may or may not actually reach me! A current, fully-functional address for me can always be found at the bottom of the http://plagiarist.org home page. Danke, gracias and thanks!
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