World Subjectrights Day (WSD)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q. What is WSD?
A. WSD is short for World Subjectrights Day. To some it is a protest against those who hold us accountable but refuse to or try to avoid being accountable to us. To others, it's a fun celebration of mutual accountability. To some, it's a chance to get revenge by shooting at people who are members of an organization who's been shooting at them. To others, it's a chance to help those who have helped them, by giving them the gift of protection. It's different things to different people, but the one common element is that it involves taking pictures of people who are involved in placing us under video surveillance.

Q. How can I give the gift of protection this Christmas season?
A. On the entrances to their shops, their signs say ``for YOUR protection you are being videotaped''. Isn't it heartwarming to see that they are offering you so much love and compassion? In return, you must offer them the same protection. By photographing them, you will show them that you love them and care for them. Put them in your family album, and cherish their smiles for centuries.

Q. Who was the inventor or originator of WSD?
A. WSD is not the vision of a single individual, but, rather, it is the work of an international foundation that includes artists, scientists, engineers, and scholars.

Q. When is WSD?
A. December 24 (yearly).

Q. Why December 24th? Won't the stores be kind of crowded with last minute Christmas shoppers then?
A. That's exactly the point of selecting December 24th. The meaning of Christmas has become one of consumerism. Like herds of animals we are shepherded into the shops only to be distrusted by the shopkeepers who watch over us from on high, with their omniscient surveillance network. When the sheep are greatest in number, the shopkeepers will have a more difficult time of keeping order. Moreover, it gets boring waiting in the long lineups. Why not pass away the time standing in line, by doing a little shooting. So take a camera along during your Christmas shopping and do a little camera shooting.

Why was Christmas Eve chosen ? The shops will be rather busy.
A. that's exactly why. 12:00 noon dec.24th will be the busiest day, and the best expression of corporate culture, and the best time to shoot. It's a human element.. crowds of people herded like cattle, overseen by the surveillance. Also the lineups will be long, so it was felt that folks could entertain themselves while waiting in line by shooting. When you get bored waiting in line, liven it up with some camerafire. Shoot when you're bored. Shoot when you're frustrated. Shoot when you're being shot!!!

Q. Is WSD the same as ShootBack Day?
A. Yes, WSD is also known to many as National ShootBack Day or National ShootingBack Day. (ShootBack is one word! There is no space between Shoot and Back.)

Q. Isn't 12:00 noon going to happen at different times since the different parts of the nation are in different time zones?
A. That's exactly the point of doing it at noon. As high noon sweeps past various time zones, the shot heard around the world will be that of clicking cameras. This shot will travel around the world, and the shot heard around the world will be the shot seen around the world, later on when the contest submissions come in. The shot seen around the world will be seen in the nationless realm of cyberspace, hence the term ``National'' is partly in jest, for it is certainly not limited to any nation in particular.

Q. How do I enter the contest?
A. Send your pictures to

International Photo Contest,
284 Bloor Street West, Suite 701,
Toronto, Ontario, Canada,
M5S 3B8
All submissions become property of WSD and will not be returned. Winning entries along with a large number of the submissions will be posted to the online gallery.

Q. What format should the pictures be in?
A. Any developed format (print, film positive, film negative, etc.), or any file format that can be read using GNU software under Gnu Public License on a computer running the Linux operating system. Alternatively, submissions may be placed on an FTP or HTTP server and the address or URL may be submitted. Any submissions that require commercial software or commercial operating systems to read will be discarded without review. Acceptable media include slides, silver halide prints, or other standard forms of photographic prints up to 8.5 by 11 inches, computer printouts, film negatives, plates (glass plate negatives up to 8 by 10 inches), film negative strips, film positive strips, diffractive prints, 3.5 inch floppy disks, ISO 9660 CD ROMs, IDE devices, or SCSI devices. Photographic media must have been developed (e.g. no undeveloped films or forms that require chemical treatment or processing by WSD staff will be accepted). If submissions are made by URL, the image format must be universally readable from any WWW browser.

Q. I have heard that WSD is a protest? Is this true? Will there be a march?
A. If you prefer to think of WSD as a protest, it can certainly be explained that way. Rather than protesting by carrying signs, or by marching, citizens will protest by going on shooting sprees. Armed with their own photographic or videographic cameras and recording devices, ordinary citizens will dish out some accountability by taking pictures of people who are representatives of organizations who are taking pictures of them.

Q. If WSD isn't a protest, than what is it?
A. Another equally valid interpretation is that WSD is an agreement with the status quo rather than a protest against it. In this interpretation cameras are good, so let's have more of them. Pictures are good, so let's all take pictures. If a department store is such a dangerous place that cameras are needed, then so be it. What's good for the goose is good for the gangster. Everyone shoots everyone and we're all happy. ``Only criminals are afraid of cameras'', so let's give representatives of the Surveillance Superhighway a chance to define themselves by seeing if they're afraid of cameras. When we ask why we are under video surveillance, we are told by the Bigs that ``only criminals are afraid of cameras'', or we are asked ``why are you so paranoid''. Now is the time to allow the Bigs to define themselves.

Q. How can I participate?
A. All you need to do is bring a camera --- any camera --- to a place where video surveillance is used.

Q. How will I know who I should shoot?
A. Taking pictures of the surveillance cameras will cause models to appear very quickly for you to photograph. When you point your camera at their cameras, the officials watching their television monitors will very quickly dispatch the models for you to shoot. This is a universal phenomenon that happens in nearly any large organization where video surveillance is used. Models often carry two--way radios and wear navy blue uniforms with special badges. Most will be eager to pose close to your camera, especially the hand models. They will reach out and place their hands over your camera lens so you can get a closup hand shot.

Q. What is the rationale behind WSD?
A. We are all accountable for our actions. The Bigs keep us under surveillance, whether we're just walking down the street, shopping, or sometimes even when we're changing clothes in their fitting rooms (Phil Patton, Jan. '95, WiReD). That's why Friday, December 24th is World Subjectrights Day. This is the day to arm yourself with a camera, or other photographic or videographic instrumentation, and enter various department stores, and other establishments that match the classic definition of totalitarian (e.g. establishments that wish to know everything about everyone yet reveal nothing about themselves).

Q. What are some examples of totalitarian establishments?
A. Examples of totalitarian establishments are those in which we are placed under extensive video surveillance, yet we are prohibited from taking pictures ourselves. The goal of World Subjectrights Day is to challenge this one-sided aspect of Totalitarian Surveillance.

Q. What subject matter, other than pictures of the surveillance cameras and representatives of the SS should I shoot?
A. Participants will also photograph or make videos of any illegal activity they happen to encounter in these totalitarian establishments. Evidence of illegal activity includes fire exits chained shut, and other forms of entrapment, forcible confinement doors, and the like, which are potential fire hazards.

Q. Should I shoot alone, or be part of a firing squad.
A. Going salvo is better than going solo. It is preferable that groups of citizens participate in unison, to prevent, or at least document illegal theft or vandalism of photographic equipment by the Bigs.

Q. Is there a deeper philisophical underpinning to WSD, or is it just a bunch of angry people going postal?
A. The camera is like Hamlet's Mirror, allowing the Bigs to define themselves within a Reflectionist context. Reflectionism holds up a mirror to society, and constructs this mirror in a symmetrical way, so that it is defined on the same terms as that which it calls into question.

Q. Is there any slogan or aphorism I might use to publicize WSD?
Shoot Authority First
Question Authority Later.
(Shoot first, ask questions later)

Q. Is WSD a photo contest?
A. There is a photo contest associated with WSD. For entry instructions, see

Q. I'm a... journalist... Having read... about... National Accoutability Day I'd like to... know in which shop (and which cities) the protest will surely take place. I'd like to make a reportage...
A. You can't learn how to swim without getting wet. You can't learn what it's like to surf the web without surfing the web. Similarly, the only way to really experience shootingback is to shootback. Pick a place where surveillance is used. Then be the one involved. It's not my protest, or our protest, it's your protest. There's no central organizing body, it's all what you make of it. Just go somewhere where surveillance is used, and shoot. As soon as you start shooting, you will become enlightened, and you will immediately understand what it is all about. The only way to understand it is to experience it. If you use pictures you took yourself, as a participant, when you write the article, you will have a much more meaningful interpretation and the article will have much greater depth than if you merely document the process as an outsider. Don't forget to enter your pictures or the complete article to the contest.