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"Acoustic Kitty" 1960s declassified CIA docs inspire haptic storytelling project

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"Acoustic Kitty" 1960s declassified CIA docs inspire haptic storytelling project


For the February Meetup, Columbia DSL will be delving into 1960s declassified CIA documents to hear the story of "Operation Acoustic Kitty" and the history of listening device espionage. We’ll be collaborating with researchers from the Digital School of Art at Manchester Metropolitan University, UK, to bring the ghost of the spy cat back to life in an immersive storytelling experience that will be developed over the course of 2019. Artists from around the world will work to imagine the "nine lives" of a surveillance inspired virtual cat through the use of haptic technology and AI.

About Operation Acoustic Kitty
"At the height of the Cold War, the story goes, officials in the United States hatched a covert plan to keep tabs on Russians in Washington, D.C. They would, they decided, deploy surveillance cats—yes, actual cats surgically implanted with microphones and radio transmitters—to slip by security and eavesdrop on activity at the Soviet Embassy. The project went by the thinly disguised code name “Acoustic Kitty.” - The Atlantic

The evening will be a mix of theory and practice. We'll start with a historical overview of listening device espionage and then move into a technical overview of haptic-based technology. Afterward, we'll dive into a design/prototyping session to collaboratively imagine an immersive storytelling project inspired by Acoustic Kitty.

We're looking for folks to help us document the evening through text, photos and video. If you're interested please message us through meetup.

COLUMBIA DSL has a new global prototyping community. Come join storytellers, game designers, creative technologists, artists, makers, activists, academics and students from around the world. For more details please visit
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