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My Little Piece of Privacy


Niklas Roy is an artist working out of Berlin, Germany. For his piece “My Little Piece of Privacy,” Roy took inspiration from the window in his ground-level studio. The large window offered a full view of the studio from the busy street outside.

Roy designed a curtain which was “small but smart (1).” Affixed to a clothesline-like apparatus with a motor, the curtain can move back and forth the width of the window. With the help of a surveillance camera installed outside and a software program, “My Little Piece of Privacy” detects those who walk by and moves the curtain in front of them.

Of course, the curtain tends to have the opposite effect; those who witness it become intrigued and are therefore more likely to violate his privacy by attempting to see inside. “The whole setup works really well.” Roy states, “but in the end, it doesn’t protect my privacy at all. It seems that the existence of my little curtain is leading itself ad absurdum, simply by doing its job very well. My moving curtain attracts the looks of people which usually would never care about my window. It is even the star of the street, now!” (2)