Situated in a real life activity, the SWIPE performance directly confronts the public with today's data collection practices and gives people access to their own data image. A SWIPE compiled data image consists of the data encoded on a driver's license augmented by online searches of data-warehouses and demographic analysis generated by consumer software.
The performance takes place at any event in which alcohol is served like opening receptions, gala events, or corporate functions.
The stage for the SWIPE performance is a customized, freestanding alcohol-serving bar. The SWIPE bar is a contemporary design and stocked with standard bar equipment and goods. The SWIPE bar has additional unique features like an automated driver's license scanner, LCD monitor, and a hacked cash register that prints unusual receipts for its customers.
People who approach the bar in search of a refreshing drink will be asked by a bartender (SWIPE member) to show their driver's license for age verification. The bartender will look at the license and place it in an automated, scanning device. Next the person is told to wait for his/her name to be called. While another bartender prepares the drink order, the SWIPE cash register (computer) runs an online super search and demographic analysis based on the driver's license information. Several minutes later, the person's name is called and he/she receives their drink with a "receipt." The receipt is a record of all the data swiped from the driver's license plus the results of the online super search, demographic analysis, and the SWIPE URL.
When funding permits, we serve specialty SWIPE drinks. These drinks have names like TSA (Transportation Security Administration), TIA (Total Information Awareness) and CAPPS (Computer Assisted Passenger Prescreening System). Each drink attempts to explain its mysterious and obtuse name.
Near the counter are computer stations, displaying a SWIPE bar web site. This site poses as the bar web site, but also gives the viewer a glimpse behind the scenes. This site reveals the inner workings of the SWIPE bar and discusses current data collection practices, policies, and social concerns.
Following the performance and event, the SWIPE bar can remain on site as a functioning installation. In this format people use the automated license-scanning device and receive their data receipts. Unfortunately no liquor is served.
In conjunction with the performance/installation, SWIPE offers a workshop featuring the SWIPE toolkit. This workshop ideally takes place the day after the performance.