Active Denial System Error  (2010)




Active Denial System Error 1.0 is designed as a paraphrase of the Active Denial System, a so called ethical subtle weapon used for "protection" of civil populations. ADS disables its targets with directed ultrasound rays, which penetrate into the nerve endings under the skin and cause a strong burning pain. When the ray changes direction, the pain immediately disappears. The work is composed as a kineticon with a directed-sound loudspeaker transmiting voice of the unknown language made of syllables which the Pure Data computer program chooses and randomly composes into words in real-time. With the surveillance camera, they are both attac hed to an electronic engine. The device’s motion ability is in the radius of 360 degrees and 180 degrees in the lower sphere, enabling it to detect and track moving objects in space. While the camera is tracking a target, the soundfrom the speaker is transmitted in the same direction. The system also contains two monitors, which show side-by-side tracked objects in the surveillance area and the device’s operating system.


The uncanny experience of being followed around by a sound from an unseen source makes apparent the position of power involved in closed and isolated "protection" systems. Therefore the device is a weapon that has been admitted into a public space as a civil tactical media. With its mechanism of gathering information about a target and immediately responding to it, the device therefore aims to reflect on the evolution of surveillance systems and the consequences these carry for our autonomy and self-awareness.














Concept, research, execution: Maja Smrekar
Sound and video programming, consulting, execution: Miha Tomšič
Voice: Petra Guček
Production: Kapelica Gallery/Zavod K6/4
Thanks to: Rok Čančer; Vid Simoniti; Janez Janša; LJUDMILA Digital lab
Production: Kapelica Gallery/K6/4 Institute