turmlaute.2 : watchtower | Wachturm
European Border Watch Organisation
Audio | Video | Installation | Organisation | Interaction
The project "turmlaute.2: the watchtower" consists of two parts: the installation and the publicity. Both parts were used to establish a fictitious organisation, the European Border Watch (EUBW), inviting EU citizens to actively monitor European external borders against illegal immigrants on their home PCs – border watching as a social Internet network.
The tower was converted into an EUBW registration centre with an audio-visual and interactive installation demonstrating new surveillance technology modelled on Google Earth. The public and international press were invited to the opening of the EUBW tower by email and fax, with a link to our official-looking website europeanborderwatch.org, which explains the goals and technique of web patrolling for private users and includes registration and feedback forms. Responses were collected and pasted into a comment book that was made available in the tower.
On-site visitors to the tower were welcomed at the entrance on behalf of the European Border Watch and given a green informational handout with a web patrol registration form on the back and a special guided tour. On the first floor, the visual showroom, an EUBW guide explained the satellite webcam system and the organisation's goals to the visitors. The dark room had small embrasures as windows, with screens showing webcam images of ostensible border events. The visitors were invited to lie down on the camp bed and choose a surveillance area from several EU external borders.
The second floor, the observation platform, housed the acoustic control room with interactive surveillance equipment, a basic sound and the voice of the interviewed soldier (more details see Klein, Georg, 2009). Visitors were asked to register on the ground floor. The guided tour provoked intense discussions, and at times we had to expose the hoax to save ourselves. Some people were extremely upset, others joined the EUBW and registered. During the four-week run there were more than 1,300 visitors to the tower and of cause many more to the website (europeanborderwatch.org).