Secret art from the archives: cubicle farm panoramas sneaked from a cheap cellphone, 2009

I worked at an IT sales company for a little while and it was as uncomfortable as you might imagine it was. While I was there though I decided to do a photo series on this environment, but there was a strict “no photo” policy and many who would gladly volunteer to report any deviant behaviour by a fellow employee. To make matters more difficult, cell phone cameras in Canada had to (by law) make a “click” sound when taking a picture so you could not sneak around a gym shower or otherwise take a photo without people knowing about it. I figured out a loophole though – if one was on a phone call, then one could take photos at the same time without any audio alert. So I happily took photos while phoning a large U.S. Financial firm’s automated customer service line. Seemed appropriate, but this created another problem – the cellular signal would disrupt every monitor and computer speakers in proximity with very noisey distortions.  Amazingly, I was still able to conduct my project to completion, and no one was the wiser.

My cheap cell phone had this panorama algorithm that auto-stiched three photos together – even if they were not lined up properly, which was awesome because this is allowed for much more creative visual exploration. I’ve been playing with present day panorama apps for my iphone, but they work too well in way by forcing the user and the pictures together as seamlessly as possible. For this reason, I wish I still had that old flip phone!

Below are the results of my unannounced artist residency.

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