Friday, 11 October 2013



When I was first developing the surveillance-heavy world of 2030 that Jenni-Fur, my lead protagonist in Invent-10n, would be living in I spent a while musing on the various youth tribes that might be populate the Britain of seventeen years hence. And one of them was the Slappers, made up of those who were resolutely anti-surveillance.  

In Invent-10n Slappers are a disaffected and generally pretty inarticulate bunch, vehemently against PanOptika (the all-embracing surveillance system of the 2030 British government), Tête-à-Tête (don’t ask) and an ordered society. In order to frustrate PanOptika’s facial-recognition ability they favour wide-brimmed hats (to cover the face), unfurled umbrellas (even when it isn’t raining), ankle-length deconstructed plastic raincoats, hoodies by Dead in the Water and (of course) wobblers, shoes with a-symmetric heels which change the way a person walks and thus thwart Gait-ID systems. The picture  above is how Nigel Robinson, the guy who did the design work on Invent-10n, pictured my Slappers (and remember he drew this back in 2009!).

Of course, I did this tongue-in cheek, never suspecting that the real world would catch up with my fictional whimsy so quickly. So when I was trawling the web looking for magazines which might review Invent-10n I was amazed when I stumbled over this:


Presented by Primitive at Tank Magazine these are a series of ‘Anti-Drone’ Stealth Wear outfits by Adam Harvey (produced in collaboration with NYC designer Johanna Bloomfield) intended to thwart surveillance cameras. My Slappers would have LOVED them. The interesting thing for me was that these designs build on previous work by Adam Harvey – he calls it CV Dazzle – which is face camouflage aimed at negating face recognition. Now that I never thought of!

I think if Invent-10n ever goes into a reprint I’ll ask Mr Harvey if I can feature his CV Dazzle. My Slappers wearing CV Dazzle warpaint would be terrific.

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