Spycam Project / Tokyo-Berlin, 2012-17
HD-Video, 2′13′′, color, sound
Today, traditional snapshot photography is in crisis. While many great photographers, such as Daido Moriyama, have worked with the snapshot method in Japan, the process has become taboo as the public has become increasingly aware of the violation of personal rights. Similarly, all mobile phones sold in Japan cannot use the built-in camera application without making a sound. At the same time, however, security cameras are ubiquitous in the city, all streets are easily accessible via Google Maps Street View, and the Spycam app is one of the top-ranking applications in the Japanese App Store.
The Spycam app takes pictures at three-second intervals. During recording, the phone's display appears dark and silent, as if turned off. Working with the contradiction and tension mentioned above, I used the SpyCam app to create images that fall into themes of surveillance and voyeurism, as well as the traditional genre of candid and spontaneous snapshot photography. As such, the project is both a documentation and a challenge to current attitudes towards digital recording.
Just after I quit my previous job in 2012 due to the physical illness caused by the hard overtime work, I started to walk around the subway in Tokyo to take photos of people's faces using this app. This was continued in the public transportation in Berlin, where I moved to in 2013. As a video work, I combined the photos from Tokyo and Berlin, compared their facial expressions, put various words associated with the images we took, and arranged them like a word association game.