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After nearly 18 months of technical development, Sphoto.us, formerly titled "Myi," is now a fully functional photo sharing application and now available for download.  

 

Communication to the sphoto server through the application is secured and encrypted through https protocol using our SSL certificate and authenticated with Google authentication services. Users have the option to add GPS coordinates and/or user chosen tags to their photos. The application gives users the option for choosing the delay length between picture captures. The logos and icons for the application have been finalized.

 

Wafaa Bilal, Sphoto.us Screen grab. Courtesy of the artist.

Wafaa Bilal, Sphoto.us Screen grab. Courtesy of the artist.

 

The website is live and all pages are functional. The "Home" page rotates through the most recent images in the database, the "About" page contains project information and the "Search" page allows user to search for photos or modify the image stream by choosing specific text tags, GPS locations, or usernames. The page then returns a paginated list of thumbnails matching the query. These thumbnails can be viewed larger when clicked on. The "Contact" page routes emails to a Google business account that runs the info@sphoto.us email address.

 

Sphoto.us uses cloud based hosting, Digital Ocean, which is able to connect to Amazon cloud based services if image hosting becomes too large. It uses solid state drives, which can be scaled up or down based on demand. The sphoto.us domain name is purchased for one year and the SSL certificate has been purchased for two years. The back end developer created all necessary databases, a front-end javascript API for querying the database, and updated the PHP based API for adding images to the database.

About the artist

Iraqi-born artist Wafaa Bilal, an Assistant Arts Professor at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, is known internationally for his on-line performative and interactive works provoking dialogue about international politics and internal dynamics. For his current project, the 3rdi, Bilal had a camera surgically implanted on the back of his head to spontaneously transmit images to the web 24 hours a day – a statement on surveillance, the mundane and the things we leave behind. Bilal's 2010 work "…And Counting" similarly used his own body as a medium. His back was tattooed with a map of Iraq and dots representing Iraqi and US casualties – the Iraqis in invisible ink seen only under a black light. Bilal's 2007 installation, Domestic Tension, also addressed the Iraq war. Bilal spent a month in a Chicago gallery with a paintball gun that people could shoot at him over the internet. The Chicago Tribune called it "one of the sharpest works of political art to be seen in a long time" and named him 2008 Artist of the Year. Bilal's work is constantly informed by the experience of fleeing his homeland and existing simultaneously in two worlds – his home in the "comfort zone" of the U.S. and his consciousness of the "conflict zone" in Iraq. Bilal suffered repression under Saddam Hussein's regime and fled Iraq in 1991 during the first Gulf War. After two years in refugee camps in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, he came to the U.S. where he graduated from the University of New Mexico and then obtained an MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In 2008 City Lights published "Shoot an Iraqi: Art, Life and Resistance Under the Gun," about Bilal's life and the Domestic Tension project.