“iSpy” is a public art project that I started last semester. This piece consists of hand stitched “drone” caricatures which are placed in public spaces. Each drone has a name and number and note hidden within a wing. Each note gives a website address to go to and a hashtag word.

The initial inspiration for “iSpy” comes from an article I read that spoke about a drone that crash landed. Certain individuals were concerned that a drone could land in a populated area and anyone could tamper with the digital information stored within the drone. For this project I decided to explore these questions of privacy by creating my own fleet of crash landed drones, each holding their own sensitive data inside. Anyone who happens across them can look up the websites on the card, and contribute their own information.

Additionally, I was heavily influenced by the “Analyst’s Desktop Binder”, which contains a list of key words that were forcibly published so that citizens could know what information was being tracked by the United States government on social media. For this project I created my own list, taking into consideration the original published list, a list of code words used in prior wars, and the list of top used hashtags in social media. This new list I presented as the “real list”, forcing my audience to consider their own social interactions on the internet, their faith in these found drones (and myself), and the government’s involvement in social media.




If you go the the Facebook/Tumblr/Twitter you will find the following text used to describe the project to the public:

[“I spy with my little eye something…”

iSpy is a community oriented public art project originating in DeKalb, IL. The project performs on various levels of social intractability, as a means to collaborate and create a shared experience focusing on the use and distribution of data through surveillance drones and technology.

Handcrafted drones are placed throughout public spaces, to be found and claimed by “passerbys”. These individuals are then invited to participate in a new online community where they can upload and document their experiences with the found drone.

Within each drone wing is a link to this website and a tag word. These words have been chosen from a master list of keywords used by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, called the “Analyst’s Desktop Binder”, to track social media. The goal of iSpy is to create awareness and foster discussion about surveillance, and how it is used by, for, and against citizens of the United States, as well as other countries.

If you have found a drone, please contribute to the website and online community by uploading:
-an image or source that goes along with your #hashtag word
-written description or #hashtag of where you found the drone
-share your thoughts and feelings about the project or topic
-redistribute the drone with instructions back inside of it in a new location
-feel free to include any other #hashtags, photos, or information that you feel is relevant to the project

Additionally I encourage all visitors to share this website and information with others through social media or word of mouth. Instructions for making your own drones are provided online and are under creative commons. Feel free to make your own handcrafted drones in your area and become a part of the project.

Contact Info:]

This fleet of drones has been placed in the DeKalb area, as well as distributed to acquaintances in other cities. To follow the travels of these drones, go to the following links:

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