GOAL OF THE PROJECT
Limb Identification System is a surveillance art project created by Ruth Baer, Peter Scheidt, and Elise Morrison.
We created a website in November 2006 for a fictional company under the domain name LimbIDsystem.com http://www.limbidsystem.com. As Limb ID System founders, we outline a mission to use human implantable RFID chip technology in citizens caught in the ongoing "War on Terror."
Walking a subtly satiric line, our project critiques the promotion of RFID technology as the 'answer' to identifying and tracking human beings (see VeriChip website and any info you can dig up on Conrad Chase and his VIP chip at his club in Barcelona). We also overtly capitalize on reactionary policies and developments that have emerged in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks; Limb ID System is ironic salve and ammunition for citizens of the world living under orange and red terror alerts.
As we state on the website:
"LimbID System is easily implantable, in as many limbs and body parts as the individual wishes, and carries in it all personal information needed for swift and accurate body recovery missions.
"Our subdermal RFID chips are built to the same ICAO standards that regulate the airplane industry's "Black Box" recorders. They can withstand the most extreme environmental conditions, ranging from extreme cold to intense heat and pressure. The biocompatible ceramic is nearly indestructible. Although its surroundings may be charred and pulverized, the LimbID chip will remain completely functional."
Our website also describes the history of the corporation, its alliance with the US government Department of Homeland Security, various University labs and several hospitals in New York and LA that developed and tested our project. Several testimonials give credence to the forensic, corporate, and personal uses of the Limb ID System.
We hope you are entertained, provoked, disgusted, and/or confused by our website. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to tell us what you think. This is a media jam and we hope it engenders more media art that pushes at the boundaries of what can and does exist in our ever-changing world of surveillance technology.
BEYOND THE WEBSITE
After creating the website, we set out to create 'web noise' in order to draw attention to the website in a variety of ways. Our approaches ranged from sending emails to anti-RFID sites (conservative Christian and concerned human rights organizations alike) to distributing a press release to national newspapers, the Associate Press, online magazines and blogs. In the former type of correspondence we took the stance of citizens horrified by Limb ID System, while in the latter we wrote from the standpoint of the director of Limb ID System Public Relations.
Our website has already reached a global audience, and several news organizations have spent time investigating our website. Reactions are continually reaching us: click here to read [responses].
Here are screenshots of the website if you have trouble accessing it: