Wednesday, September 28, 2011


When thinking about surveillance and watching, I kept also considering how identity fits into those concepts. I decided to use the idea of the Superhero as a metaphor for identity. My models are not literally representing the superheroes on their shirts, but the metaphor still stands. I considered how humans behave in today's technological age with all of the cameras and surveillance technology found everywhere. When we do not feel as though we are being watched, we may present ourselves in a less flashy manner. I used the idea of surveillance in the first half of each narrative and took photos of the models doing activities they would do in every day life, while not interacting with the camera. I then used the notion that the Superhero facade could represent the individual's public identity. The models interact fully with the camera and acknowledge that they are being watched. I asked them to perform, presenting themselves strongly to represent a public identity. I also kept in mind that those being observed change because they are being observed, in a psychological sense. In an article by Richard B. Woodward, he mentions "We like to watch and, in turn, don't mind being watched." I view this quote as entirely applicable to the superhero half of my series, while their non-observed identities would mind being watched. Conversely, Philip E. Agre discusses in his article "Surveillance and Capture,""the assumption that this "watching" is nondisruptive and surreptitious (except perhaps when going astray or issuing a threat)" Watching in the sense of surveillance is not necessarily nondisruptive, as many people begin to present their identities in a different manner because of it.   

Friday, September 16, 2011

Technological Evolution/Human Evolution

Library assistant Norweita Graham 
 displays a computer punch cardused in the 
library's check-out system in 1969.

      As computer technology evolves, so do people. That is to say, it almost seems like people evolve around the commercial technology, rather than the general population causing the evolution of it. I found Lev Manovich’s discussion on the trends of Flickr and YouTube videos particularly interesting and supportive of this idea. He mentions an explosion within a few months’ time in 2007 of image activity on Flickr tripling. A few months is a long time; not many savvy computer users in 2011 would find that statistic surprising. I certainly did not feel surprised while reading that section of Lev Manovich’s article, however when I think back on that as a newer image hosting website in 2007, the statistic is far more impressive. Ted Nelson wrote Computer Lib/Dream Machines with the intention of making the Internet and computer technology easily understandable and accessible to the general population. I feel as though there is evidence of this success in the popularity of image and other hosting sites that are now easily accessible and user friendly. Even though I have lived through the advance of the Internet and have had Internet access for most of my life, I was hardly aware of its history. This thought returns to the concept that technology evolves us. Computer users are so focused on the technology of right now that technology of the past hardly enters their minds. Doug Engelbart mentions, “we suspect that improving the effectiveness of the individual as he operates in our society should be approached as a system-engineering problem,” which—while published in 1962—is directly applicable to the concept that technology has become the new system engineer.