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Arts & Culture
Crosscurrents is our award-winning radio news magazine, broadcasting Mondays through Thursdays at 5 p.m. on 91.7 FM. We make joyful, informative stories that engage people across the economic, social, and cultural divides in our community. Listen to full episodes at kalw.org/crosscurrents

Looking at you looking at me: Surveillance protest art

Hasan Elahi
Hasan Elahi
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Flickr Creative Commons
Hasan M. Elahi during the Lift conference.

Descendants of immigrants and refugees from countries in the Middle East and South Asia have often had a hard time living in the post 9/11 United States because they have Muslim names. Take former San Jose State Professor and artist Hasan Elahi.

After September 11, while trying to catch a plane, he was detained and interrogated by the FBI, and compelled to share a lot of personal information with the Feds. He was eventually cleared, but the experience inspired him to launch a project called “Hiding in Plain Sight” in which he photographs every single detail of his daily life — no matter how mundane — and uploads it on his website for the world — and the FBI — to see. It’s a form of “surveillance protest art.”

This story originally aired in April, 2011