Skip to content

Operation Acoustic Kitty - returns for an evening of listening espionage

Photo of
Hosted By
lance w.
Operation Acoustic Kitty - returns for an evening of listening espionage


For the May Meetup, Columbia DSL will be revisiting 1960s declassified CIA story of "Operation Acoustic Kitty" and the history of listening device espionage. Following our February meet up we’ll be collaborating again with researchers from the Digital School of Art at Manchester Metropolitan University, UK, this time to test the limits of being listened to as an individual and as audience. What is the future of acoustic surveillance in an environment awash with commercial listening devices?

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 begins with a presentation of the real-world agents and consequences that exist as a result of modern surveillances technologies. These technologies will then be presented in more detail, and participants will take part in a hands-on, design session thinking through other installation-based ways these technologies and their effects on the public can be generated for a larger public.