“Is our fundamental right to freedom of expression being threatened?”
With this question in mind, Marcel Top starts to investigate mass surveillance in the United States. Sara Hodges addresses the artist’s concerns over the safety of democracy in surveilled societies. With his project ‘Sara Hodges’, Top questions the current use of these technologies, finally exposing the possible threat they represent.
Sara Hodges is a non-existing, algorithm-generated, American citizen. To create this online fake persona, Top started by gathering over 50’000 Instagram posts that used the hashtag#iloveamerica (I love America). Starting from these posts Top was able to generate new non-existing pictures through machine learning. The online presence of Sara Hodges reflects the online presence of other ordinary people, who in the sight of surveillance technologies, represent the perfect American citizens
The online presence of this person is to be the perfect American citizen. Her online presence is supposed to fool the mass surveillance technology used to track people. By bringing her online presence into the real world, Marcel Top hopes to create a non surveilled space where people can express and form opinions without any risk of retribution by the government.
Her face would be available to everyone. Through 3D printing and the use of silicon, people would be able to recreate her face and wear it. When people wear this mask, they would be able to express any opinion in the real world without fear of being identified and tracked online.