UK Band Make Themselves Stars of Surveillance Cam TV

Though it's not such a familiar phenomenon in the US, the UK is now awash with closed-circuit TV cameras, one for every 14 or so people— hell, even the Lollipop Lady crossing guards are getting them. You could choose to see this as good for public safety, or as an Orwellian invasion of privacy...or even an opportunity to get your music video filmed for free. Which is exactly what unsigned Manchester-based band The Get Out Clause did, by performing their single in public in 80 locations in front of CCTV cameras. How did they get the footage, though?

Luckily the UK has the Data Protection Act (1998) and Freedom of Information Act (2000), which are a little like the US Freedom of Information Act, allowing anyone the right to view the data that an organization holds about them. Usually that's things like personal information, but in this case it was video footage of their performances on surveillance CCTV systems, both privately and publicly owned. Not all of the organizations the band approached using these laws came up with the goods, but many of them did: enough to make the video.


Now, you may be thinking "no, I don't believe it... all that CCTV stuff is just Hollywood, Bourne Identity nonsense," but sadly, you'd be wrong. Sure, there's no central collection office where The Man can choose among millions of camera streams at will, but the cams really are everywhere. Some cameras are black and white, some infrared, some color, some are fixed, some can even be panned and zoomed in real-time by local police, and some are in taxis.

In their final compiled video, The Get Out Clause can be seen performing in shopping malls, on the street, on a type of pedestrian crossing where cars have to wait for you, on a bus and tram and in the back of a Hackney Carriage taxi. Sure, there's a bit of personal camcorder action in there, but mostly the video is CCTV, and for that bit of lateral thinking I applaud you, chaps. Clever. [The Telegraph via Boing Boing]


Johnny Chimpo

@buzzwizard: I know, I know. It wasn't entirely fair to rip their music, but come on! Did you hear how cookie cutter safe their sounds was?? Heck it wasn't even recorded live. But again, big props for the idea!

Anyhoo, on a somewhat-related/good-link-for-a-friday here is a need video by Vampire Weekend loose in the streets of Paris. It was recorded for a french music blog back in feb.