01 August 2022

Marcel Top Expresses Concern Over Mass Surveillance in the USA by Creating Non-existing Images From Found Ones

01 August 2022 - Written by PhMuseum

Touching upon themes of vigilance and democracy, the Belgian photographer dives into the hashtag I Love America and explores the idea of the perfect citizen in the era of non-anonymity. 

“Is our fundamental right to freedom of expression being threatened?”

With this question in mind, Marcel Top investigates mass surveillance in the United States. “Sara Hodges” addresses the artist’s concerns over the safety of democracy in surveilled societies, questioning the current use of these technologies, and exposing the possible threat they represent.

 Sara Hodges is a non-existing algorithm-generated American citizen. Created by the photographer through gathering over 50.000 Instagram posts that were using the hashtag #iloveamerica (I love America). From the posts gathered, Top was able to create new non-existing pictures via machine learning. The online presence of Sara Hodges reflects the online presence of other ordinary people, who in the sight of surveillance technologies, represent the perfect American citizen. 

Words and Pictures by Marcel Top


Marcel Top is a London-based Belgian photographer aged 25, fascinated by the power of technology and by the ambiguity of its double-faced nature. Breach of privacy, mass surveillance, and the collection of personal data are among Top’s recurring topics. Rethinking his practice and approaching it from what he couldn't frame, enabled him to address worries related to a future dominated by technology. Follow him on Instagram and PhMuseum


This feature is part of Story of the Week, a selection of relevant projects from our community handpicked by the PhMuseum curators.

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