Artist to discuss self surveillance project at BU

For immediate release: March 24, 2008

BLOOMSBURG — An artist who has turned his entire life into social commentary will speak at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania on Wednesday, April 2, at 9:30 a.m., in Old Science Hall, room 122. He will also be available to speak with students in the afternoon.

Hasan Elahi is a 1993 graduate of BU who focuses his work on technology and media and their social implications. Elahi’s current project, “Tracking Transience: The Orwell Project,” is a web site that continuously displays his exact location to anyone with access to the internet. He is influenced by his detainment by the FBI in 2002, when agents had been erroneously tipped off that Elahi was hiding explosives in a Florida storage unit. Elahi had to prove that he was not the person they were looking for. To protect himself from unwanted scrutiny, he makes his entire life and whereabouts publicly accessible, uploading around a hundred pictures a day. More information about the artist and his work can be found at

His self surveillance not only caught the attention of newspapers and news stations, but also Wired magazine, which featured his story in May 2007. “The government monitors your movements, but it gets things wrong. You can monitor yourself much more accurately,” Elahi told them.

Elahi is a professor of visual arts at Rutgers University. He has also taught at West Virginia University, the University of South Florida and Wanganui School of Design. His work has been exhibited in museums, galleries, and exhibitions around the world, including The Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia; The Gothe-Instituet in Dakar, Senegal; The Centre Georges Pompidue in Paris; and Pace University Digital Gallery in New York City.

Bloomsburg University is one of 14 universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. The university serves approximately 8,000 students, offering comprehensive programs of study in the colleges of Professional Studies, Business, Liberal Arts and Science and Technology.