The problem with pepper spray is that, while it may immobilize an attacker, it won’t deter any would-be attackers from approaching you to begin with. Like a concealed weapon, pepper spray fits discreetly into your pocket. It’s designed to be invisible.
Comparatively, the Aposematic Jacket, by Seoul-based artistic duo Shinseungback Kimyonghun, is a personal defense device that’s anything but subtle. It’s a jacket that can photograph all 360 degrees around you, and it wants the world to know that fact. Inspired by aposematism–the natural phenomenon in which some animals look dangerous or just untasty to predators through bright colors or intense patterns–the garment is covered in an absurd amount of camera lenses. “The lenses on the jacket give off the warning signal, ‘I can record you’ to prevent possible attack,” explains co-creator Yong Hun. “The ones who ignore the warning will taste toxicity of the recorded images.”
Now, most of the lenses you see are complete artifice, intended purely to enhance the jacket’s aura of warning. But four of the lenses really do work. They connect to an internal circuit board to take a photograph in tandem with the press of a button. The images are automatically stitched together to create a panorama, and then that big image is uploaded via Wi-Fi to the cloud.
But ultimately, the Aposematic Jacket is more of an interactive piece of art piece, rather than a product you’ll see on Kickstarter any time soon. To Shinseungback Kimyonghun, it’s meant to call attention to a world with an ever-increasing level of surveillance; one in which cameras are ubiquitous for both the authorities who use CCTV systems to track us across cities, as well as the consumers who choose to wear lifelogging systems like the Narrative Clip camera or Google Glass.
“How will people act when everything is recorded all the time? How is the ethics of humanity going to be in the age of ubiquitous veillance?” Yong Hun asks. “With these questions in mind, we wanted to spark discussions about this new environment.”