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Author Topic: "Surveillance Camera Man" guerrilla art piece  (Read 2671 times)

tetsuharu

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"Surveillance Camera Man" guerrilla art piece
« on: November 07, 2012, 03:11:52 PM »

I am always an opponent of the surveillance society, and I love the whole idea of "sousveillance" to compete with it.


I love this piece because there is little to no description, and it's hilarious. It does a really good job, imo, of getting across the point that if we were actually conscious of the people recording us through security cameras, we would likely be frustrated and angry.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHG9ouQ17-M


So many people in the video were confused that it was legal. My favorite part was the office with the security guard who came out and told Surveillance Camera Man that he can't record pointing his camera inside the building, but he CAN point it across the street, at other buildings with exposed windows, as if that's any better haha!


His canned responses are genius. "I'm on the sidewalk." "It's just a video." Whenever someone asks him to do something, like to put down the camera or stop recording, he does exactly what a security camera does: "ok" and doesn't change its behavior at all to match social circumstances. Whenever someone tells him something, like "you are making me feel uncomfortable", and they expect him to respond with compassion and give the person dignity, he does what a security camera does and just says "oh" and keeps filming.


10/10, would watch again.

tetsuharu

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Re: "Surveillance Camera Man" guerrilla art piece
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2012, 10:52:09 PM »
I agree, he could have been more obviously a security camera, then people would get the point of him performing as a security camera. There's already been a lot of anti-surveillance media produced and artistic acts that more clearly represent man-as-security camera, notably this from the CFP2005 "Panopticon" conference in 2005:





As well as very obvious personifications of security cameras in overt art projects:







I appreciated this piece exactly because it was on the border of normal, obnoxious human behavior, and art piece. No one changes their behavior because of these artists wearing security camera helmets. People actually watch and laugh at the annoying guy who sits next to people and just records them!

ahw

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Re: "Surveillance Camera Man" guerrilla art piece
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2012, 05:50:01 PM »

Yeah.  I also feel like annoying camera guy advances the argument in more interesting ways than the dress-up people; saying "cameras exist" is boring, but acting out why that's a problem is much more fun and useful.  Cameras on their own don't feel intrusive because "nobody's watching anyway," and even if they are it doesn't feel that way at a gut level.


I don't know how to put pictures in this thing, but remember the study where pictures of eyes improved social compliance?  It's not the fact that you're being watched, it's the FEELING that you're being watched that matters (cf. the relatively quaint ideas behind the original Panopticon?it only really works it actually deliver accurate punishments on a fairly regular basis).


Incidentally I do think there's a valid disconnect between people's natural complacency with passive surveillance and the emerging reality of the situation.  Behavioral analysis isn't new anymore (e.g. the RNC), people may ACTUALLY use the cameras for things other than their nominal purpose (e.g. Wally World taping their bathrooms "to catch thieves"), etc.


As to the "invasion of personal space" bit, I'm pretty sure that IS the point.  The Wal-mart people can give you a reason why there are cameras, but that reason may or may not be accurate or complete, and it doesn't matter anyway.  You have no reasonable expectation of privacy in a public place, and anyone can overtly observe anyone whom they can see from anyplace they're legally allowed to be.  Even what we'd think of as creepy isn't a problem unless you trespass or do it "secretly"?I, like the police, can openly stand on the public street outside your bedroom or in the air above your property and videotape through your open bedroom window if I feel like it (I don't, by the way). 


To avoid properties which are under surveillance isn't exactly a viable choice if you plan on doing things like eating, drinking, or driving.  As to the Wal-Mart example specifically, plenty of surveillance is controlled by government not private businesses (e.g. various police cameras, all of London and soon the whole UK).  I'm sympathetic to the point that, hey, this would be creepy if there were a person doing it, why is it not creepy just because it's mediated by a machine?








Lately I've been especially tickled by how "The Man" seems to agree that people are so complacent about cameras that they're a bit of a waste ... good for evidentiary purposes, useless for actual deterrence.  PDs themselves are trying to make the man behind the camera more visible, through things like "talk-back" systems as in the UK and awesome spotlights like in NJ.


This is probably too long for one of these forum things isn't it.  I'll stop.  Sorry.

tetsuharu

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Re: "Surveillance Camera Man" guerrilla art piece
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2012, 06:10:01 PM »
I think it's a good length for the Ceci N'est Pas forum!


A few months ago [size=78%]a man in Orlando was arrested just outside his home[/size], not what most people would consider a "public place". Evidence like this should be inadmissible like any evidence extracted through illegal means. If it's not considered illegal now, it should be.


The alternative is like what Lance is doing, live a completely public life, with your current GPS coordinates live on your website.