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Under the title of, “What will they THINK of next?”, combine an artists’ sensabilities, the world’s “oldest profession” and 21st century technology and you have the Sexy version of a ‘Get Smart!’ shoe. No kidding. Artists have created what they call, The Aphrodite Project which lets prostitutes use a platform shoe which has a GPS receiver. The ladies keep in touch with each other’s locations and send a signal for emergency help, if needed. Now, before this degenerates into a plethora of bad jokes, let’s look at the background (we can return to tastelessness later). Back in 2004 a group called “Rave Wireless” incorporated. The basic idea is that since 21st century students use of cell phones is ubiquitous, why not use that technology to enhance communication, safety and social networking? Why not indeed! Well, if this service is useful for those in universities and colleges, it is also good enough for everyone is other social/employment groups.
So the artists at The Aphrodite Project have cleverly organized online tools for Street Ladies which they can access via their shoes. It’s a bit more subtle that Max Smart taking his shoe off and talking into it, but, strangely enough, it’s similar. Sort of like Art imitating Art in Life. Or something. Why is this important? I hate that word “Empowerment”, but that’s basically what it’s about. Get control over your life and work environment.

Let’s follow one Street Lady on her way to work. She finds her high tech shoes and turns on the GPS tracking. Before going out she checks her email and her calendar and the online blogs for local issues, problems concerning customers, etc. She can also download video from the Aphrodite site (I told you this was made by artists) and these can be altered and customized. A new way to advertise! Insert your own bad jokes here _____.

After accessing and exchanging info, she is ready to go out. Walking around she can feel safer knowing that if necessary the shoes will sound a sharp noise to scare off an attacker. And a silent alarm signal will transmit to sex workers’ rights groups (PONY in New York, COYOTE in Los Angeles, and so on). Whatever anyone’s line of work, everyone should be safe and respected.

To see this yourself, check out This Week at Eyebeam

May 2-13 – The Aphrodite Project: Platforms – exhibition

Max Smart may have had a Secret Shoe, but these days it’s all out in the open. Everyone gets to have this technology. I know some people (correctly) worry about the government having access to everyone’s location. That should send a wakeup call to those of us living in what should be a democracy. Pay attention to what those idiots are doing in your name. And stop voting for people who don’t respect the Bill of Rights. And if you see Rove walking toward you, grab your shoe and sent off an Alarm!

Written by Cecilia