At the First Friday gallery walk in Uptown Oakland, Peter Foucault is doing live screen-printing on the hood of a tricked-out Ford Falcon van. But before the prints can even dry, he's waving them at passers-by.
What he's got is a short quiz, testing people's knowledge about surveillance in the city.
The quiz starts off asking about the Domain Awareness Center -- a controversial project to collect data across Oakland, scaled back last year in the face of community opposition. Then the test moves on to more general laws about surveillance.
“True or false? Surveillance cameras purchased by private citizens and neighborhood associations can be linked up to the Oakland Police Department's network."
"True or false? Private citizens can purchase license plate readers and can send data about the plates they scan to the Oakland Police Department."
The first is false, the second is true. But the point isn't whether one's answers are right or wrong.
"We give this to kind of prime people, get the conversation started," Foucault tells a curious participant. "We just want to give you some education, get you some facts. Get you thinking in the mindset of surveillance and how it may or may not affect you.”
After answering the questions, participants can go to a makeshift recording booth inside the van to share their thoughts about surveillance.
“I have various opinions on surveillance," says Greg Brenner, who's visiting from Indianapolis. "When I need it, when I want to know what’s out in front of my business or shop, I think it’s a great thing. But I think its also an invasion of privacy. So I'm torn on the subject.”
Foucault says the project has elicited a wide range of answers, often based on where he has set up.
“People have a different take on how surveillance impacts their lives in a different way in Fruitvale than it's happening downtown here," he says. "We had people that say surveillance is protection, comfort, keeping people on their toes to just be aware of what's happening in their neighborhoods. And then on the far end of the spectrum, there's obviously the responses that are going to be surveillance is a little bit more invasive.”
The project is called "Eyes on Oakland" -- a collaboration between Mobile Arts Platform and the Center for Investigative Reporting. "They're giving us the content that we're looking for and we're giving them an experience," says Aaron McKenzie of Mobile Arts Platform.
"Investigative reporting happens in many ways, and part of how we see engagement and work in journalism is talking to people in advance of what we even know a story will be," says Meghann Farnsworth, director of distribution and engagement at CIR.
"So one of the goals here is to find out how much people know about surveillance. What information would they want to know more about, what issues do they care about? So that way, as our reporters and editors are looking at stories, we have some baseline of understanding (of) what Oakland residents know ... what they're interested about, and that can help influence our looking at different topics and issues."
Participants can also fill out a card that says "Surveillance is ---" by finishing the phrase . They then have their photo taken, with the card blocking their face -- a reference to the concept of privacy.
Stephen Nienu fills in the blank with the word "dangerous."
"I'm a political science major. I'm a person that researches and is somewhat aware with the things that are going on, such as surveillance and current events regarding the NSA, Snowden, etc. Surveillance is dangerous."
“Some people may argue that it's a necessary evil, but the point that we're at right now, I think it's a huge violation of privacy," says Pele Tapaatoutai, who recently moved back to the Bay Area from New York City. She wrote "surveillance is ... a major violation of privacy."
Jared Mitchell, who grew up in Oakland, did poorly on the quiz, which he says scares him.
"I've got a lot to learn and a lot to research going forward," he said. "It's important that the citizens being surveyed and being watched, they should be aware of the means in which they're being watched and the technologies that are being used to conduct the police activities that we pay for. Unfortunately, there aren't always those opportunities for that conversation to take place, so I think that them being on the streets and getting people engaged and even thinking in that direction is a beautiful thing."
The recordings and answers from the public will become part of the "Who is Oakland" exhibit at the Oakland Museum, which opens Saturday, April 11.