How To Make A DIY Anti-Surveillance Spray

CCTV Blocking Spray Apparatus

Ai Weiwei

It’s illegal, but that’s kind of the point.

Incendiary Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, known for his highly political art, isn’t exactly a fan of surveillance cameras. When Swiss art curator Hans-Ulrich Obrist asked Ai to contribute to a Do-It-Yourself compendium full of projects from artists, Ai designed an anti-surveillance camera apparatus, made from everyday objects.

Seizing on both its functionality and street culture significance, Ai’s design is centered around a can of spray paint. The rest of the device works to get the spray paint into difficult-to-reach places, like the lofty perches where security cameras normally rest.

What You’ll Need

Can of spray paint
Stick, ideally a collapsible tree pruner, but others are fine
Nylon rope
Bicycle break bar
Bottle cage from a bicycle
A wing corkscrew

Attach the bottle cage to the side of the stick near the top, to hold the spray paint can. Atop the stick sits the wing corkscrew, with one wing resting on the spray button on top of the can. Tie a string to the other corkscrew wing, and then stretch it down the length of the stick and attach it to the bicycle break bar. Squeeze the handle of the bicycle break bar, and it pulls the string, which pulls the corkscrew arm, which depresses the button on the spray can, which then sprays paint all over the offending camera.

(Full instructions are available at Brainpickings.)

This is illegal and unsubtle, which is largely the point of Ai’s work. Distributing instructions for provocative DIY projects could even be considered the art itself.

The design comes from Hans-Ulrich Obrist’s compendium “Do It,” published in April.

This is almost as good as that time when Dutch artists put party hats on surveillance cameras for George Orwell’s birthday.


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