Artist Projects

Tracking Transience


Hasan Elahi

An erroneous tip called into law enforcement authorities after 9/11 subjected Hasan Elahi to an intensive investigation by the FBI and after undergoing months of interrogations, he was finally cleared of suspicions. After this harrowing experience, Elahi conceived Tracking Transience and opened just about every aspect of his life to the public. Predating the NSA’s PRISM surveillance program by half a decade, the project questions the consequences of living under constant surveillance and continuously generates databases of imagery that tracks the artist and his points of transit in real-time. Although initially created for his FBI agent, the public can also monitor the artist’s communication records, banking transactions, and transportation logs along with various intelligence and government agencies who have been confirmed visiting his website

Project Updates

  • 2011: Elahi presents Tracking Transience at TED Global in Edinburgh, Scotland

  • 2010: Tracking Transience: The Orwell Project is featured in a group exhibition at the Sun Valley Center for the Arts in Idaho, along with lectures at local schools

  • 2010: Elahi holds discussion about Tracking Transience at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design with security expert Bruce Schneier

  • 2010: An iteration of Tracking Transience: The Orwell Project is shown at DiverseWorks in Houston, TX

  • 2010: Tracking Transience: The Orwell Project premieres at SITE SantaFe

  • 2008: Hasan appears on The Colbert Report to discuss Tracking Transience

  • 2008: Segments of Tracking Transience are on view at New Fronter on Main at the Sundance Film Festival

  • 2007: A book featuring images from Tracking Transience is published