Documentation Video (on Vemeo)
I live near a railway station. On my way home, I usually buy something at a supermarket or deli.
One day, I thought about two things. One is “I might do the shopping at the same place”. The other is “Who actually receives the money I spend?”
The supermarket that I always use is owned by a railroad company and situated at a railway station that I use every day. Am I navigated to consume there?
Curiously, I didn’t feel uncomfortable even though I realized that fact. It might be kind of fun. However, have I just given up critical thinking?
Is there any way for general people like me to know what kind of limitations or authority affects our daily lives?
Well, we need to find our own way to do it.
This was the first step of the Receipt Project.
The Receipt Project is a participatory art project as well as sociological research and data visualization.
In this project, participants are navigated to donate their receipts, which are geographically and chronologically accumulated as an installation.
The information is stored in a database and visualized as three-dimensional graphics. As a result, various facts such as the participants’ activities, the tendencies of their purchase histories, and the distribution of profits to stockholders are visualized.
The Receipt Project aims to reveal how our behaviors (especially in consumption) are limited or navigated by authorities in capitalism by analyzing a collection of trivial items such as receipts.
This project is media for acquiring freedom from the authorities.
In this information society, our behaviors such as purchase histories, movements in shops and public spaces are recorded everywhere using GPS, RFID, surveillance cameras, web browsers, mobile phones, the ticket machines in a station and so forth. Our activities are used by authorities such as conglomerates or governments for analyzing and marketing to maintain economic or political influences on us. However, consumers, cannot access the database itself; it is always hidden from us.
In Japan recently, I strongly feel that critical information is being concealed from us by the government and companies, even though it is only two years after the Fukushima Accident.
Directly after the nuclear accident, the Japanese Government and TEPCO did not disclose information on the nuclear plants to residents promptly and sufficiently, and because of that, people in Fukushima became irradiated. Those authorities are still trying to avoid offering full information and accept their responsibilities.
Most people had not been informed of the risk of radiation and we had not worried about the existence of the nuclear plants for a long time. In addition, Japanese people recently seem to have almost forgotten the lessons from the disaster and the nuclear risks. This is a very serious problem for Japan.
Why do we not care about our authorities not offering proper information to us? Why do we quickly forget the severe accident?
The act of “finding out” how we are analyzed and manipulated by authorities will help to protect us from them, and the Receipt Project is a self-build information system for revealing its structure.
The motivation of this project comes from the same concerns as the Fukushima disaster in terms of the critical monitoring of the authorities. We have to constantly monitor their activities to accomplish a better society for all people.
The other motivation of the project is the intimacy of the receipts themselves, which are very curious objects. For most people, they are useless and sometimes annoying to keep.
On the other hand, for some people, it is very important to keep for tax returns. However, most people are unaware that receipts are a collection of private information and, by collecting them, various activities and relationships among people will be revealed. So, receipts are a very private source of information as well as forming a public collective memory.
1. A participant fills in a simple questionnaire and draws his / her own icon.
2. They donate their unused receipts. (Figure1)
3. Receipts and icons are scanned and the information is digitized by software.
4. The receipts of installation and the data are updated and accumulated during the exhibition period. (Figure2)
1. A user can see all or individual activities of participants. (Figure3)
2. The X- and Z-axes represent geographical space, and the Y-axis represents chronological scale. (Figure4)
3. A user can see an image of the actual receipts. (Figure5)
1. A user can trace how his / her money is distributed to stockholders after shopping. (Figure6, 7)
2. This graph uses a custom stockholder database reconstructed based on open source stock information.
Software: custom software written in Objective-C
Operating System: Mac OS X 10.8.2
Digital Video Camera
AV cable (from camera to computer)
Monitor Cable (10 meters)
Two Full HD Video Projectors (over 4,000 lumens projectors are preferable)
W6m x D10m x H3m
The Receipt Project was presented in the Fifth Yebisu International Festival for Art & Alternative Visions.
Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography
February 8th to 24th, 2013
Hiromi Kitazawa / Keiko Okamura / Hiroko Tasaka / Junya Yamamine
Yasushi Noguchi / Jun Masuda
Iku Hasegawa / Saki Inaba / Nao Ishihara / Ayaka Ishii / Tatsuki Kengaku / Sara Kikuchi / Ai Kito / Kento Kobayashi / Miyuki Kumagai / Kohei Mikami / Yuta Nakamura / Yutaro Osawa / Sho Shindo / Kazuyoshi Sasagawa / Hiroki Uwatoko