Big Brother's listening...

A COFA student's unique art installation challenges ideas of public and private space.

Listening inside

Watch what you say if you're walking down Oxford Street this month - a snippet of your conversation might be displayed in a shop window.

College of Fine Arts (COFA) student, Rebecca Young, has designed a site specific installation, Conversation Observation, which will display random comments from passers-by on LED screens in the windows of participating Paddington venues.

Running throughout October, the project is part of Art & About, Sydney's biggest public arts festival.

"I'll be choosing snippets of conversation that are either absurd or mundane," says Young. "I'm intrigued by the multiple meanings that can be found when a remark is overheard out of context."

The self-funded project will have a discrete 'minder' who will listen to pedestrians talking and program the signs through a computer or SMS service.

"There will be someone on-site during peak times, but in between I'll use a bank of comments that I've overheard while traveling on public transport," she says.
Young says Conversation Observation is a comment on the way technology has changed public access to private information.

"People scream the most intimate things into their mobile phones as they walk down the street. This art work playfully highlights the fact that not only is big brother listening, but everyone else is too."

What: COFA Presents: Bec Young - "Conversation Observation"
When: 1-25 October
Where: Beauchamp Hotel, Cnr Oxford & South Dowling Streets, Darlinghurst | IKU Wholefoods, 62-64 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst | The Falconer Bar Café Restaurant, 31 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst

Media contact: Fran Strachan | 9385 8732 | 04294 16070 | fran.strachan@unsw.edu.au