One of the most challenging aspects of the western style surveillance apparatus is its invisibility: our minds and eyes are not attuned to perceive the ‘rays’ of surveillance that surround and penetrate our everyday lives, both online and in our homes. We are thus seen, but rarely are we seeing – which in the context of big tech is a feature, not a bug. The Amazon Echo, for example, is by design an inconspicuous device. With Echo Chamber May Safwat draws attention to this by cleverly utilising the most relevant feature of our perceptual apparatus: our eyes' irresistible desire to look at another face. This face comes in the shape of a reliquary bust resembling no other than the Saint of Privacy, the American whistleblower Edward Snowden. Unlike a reliquary, it does not contain Snowden's bones, but a mechanism that manifests his intentions in spirit: when placed over an Amazon Echo, a hidden copper cylinder disables the Echo's capacity to function. 

Ed Cook