Identities for the Taking was an installation I designed and fabricated at Art Center College of Design in 2010. The driving notion of the project was to transform data into information in a way that demands interactivity from a passerby, generates a participant out of a viewer, and moves him or her to action. The topic chosen was identity theft, and the data was that an identity is stolen every 4 seconds in the US; in other words 15 identity thefts occur per minute, 900 thefts per hour, and 21,600 per day.
To convey the magnitude of the issue and its seriousness as a subject I focused on the emotional reactions that come with confronting overbearingly immense quantities all at once, and the slight panic one feels when happening across their name or likeness in a public space. With special thanks and credit to Benjamin Jenett throughout installation.
I designed and printed 900 "promotional" postcards, each featuring an arbitrarily chosen student's name. A random 20 percept sampling of each alphabet "group" (last names A-Z) were chosen from the student directory. 900 was chosen as an overwhelming sampling of the 'hypothetical' identity thefts occurring in just one hour. The catch phrase on all the postcards was "Out of these 900" ... "It could be you." Attached to the back of each postcard was a credit card (magnetic swipe card) with the student's email and major encoded. The cards are indeed swipe-able, but the information is only accessible by a 3-track card magnetic Card reader.
The cards were presented alphabetically in 20 rows at a height of about 6'4", and students were encouraged to find their own names or take whoever else's. The cards were neatly offset at 8" on center until the wind did its damage and students began sifting through them. Total dimensions were about 30 x 64 x 6 feet. The installation took 3 days and a team of 5 (including myself) to assemble. The installation was featured August 15 - 18, 2010.