Photo: Jaap de Maat

The autonomous filing cabinet was created by Jaap de Maat (Royal College of Art)
“In the digital age it has become easier to look back with great accuracy,” states de Maat. “This development contains hidden dangers, as those stored recollections can easily be misinterpreted and manipulated. That sobering thought should rule our online behavior, because the traces we leave behind now will follow us around for ever.”

The modified, standard filing cabinet uses a bluetooth webcam, scanning its surroundings for activity.
Electric wheelchair mechanics (plus battery) provide the motive force. A proximity sensor, some imagination, a little computing power and presto chango – a weird little filing cabinet that follows you around the room, as your digital records follow you online, a physical imagining of a virtual reality!

It’s not perfect, sometimes it bumps into the people it is following, and it changes targets unexpectedly, but it sure is interesting, and a great comment on our digital histories. Be afraid, be very afraid!

“I Know What You Did Last Summer” was installed at the Royal College of Art’s Hockney Gallery.