Kyle McDonald
People staring at computers

Lives and works in Brooklyn, New York, USA.

In People Staring at computers, the portraits of unsuspecting customers were captured at two Apple stores in New York. Custom software was installed manually on dozens of computers over several days, taking pictures once a minute and sending them back to a central server for exhibition online. On the final day the photos were exhibited simultaneously on all the computers at the Apple store at the site where they were taken.

Two days after the in-store exhibition, secret-service agents executed a search warrant, seizing the hardware used to create the work. Apple sent “cease and desist” requests to all web services hosting the work. Hundreds of commentators across the web joined in, not only discussing the work’s legality but debating the definition of art itself, trying to distinguish public from private space and arguing about the role of surveillance in everyday life.