There are many ways to be invisible, and many kinds of eyes that can see you. Facial-recognition technology, for example, has some artists and designers devising ways to hide from face-detection systems. (Robinson Meyer wore one of those strategies around Washington, D.C., for a while.) There are anti-drone hoodies that attempt to make the wearer invisible to thermal imaging. And now, one architect and artist has dreamed up outerwear that is meant to avoid detection by laser systems.
Liam Young’s anti-LIDAR suits are costumes for a film project he’s working on with science-fiction writer Tim Maughan. The film, Where the City Can’t See, is set in a near-future Detroit, in which the Chinese run a special economic zone meant to spur the economy. In the background, there are groups trying to escape the endless machine-reading all around them—a “smart city” that has not just taken over and scanned every inch of the world, but has dictated the way that spaces are built. To rebel against those systems, people in Young’s film wear LIDAR invisibility suits. A few weeks ago, Young invited participants of an art and design festival in the U.K. to visit the film’s set, where they were shooting a forest scene featuring actors wearing the LIDAR suits.