Big Brother’s Watching- Andrew Hammerand Spies On A Small Town For One Year Using Public Cameras

Andrew Hammerand - Digital SnapshotAndrew Hammerand - Digital SnapshotAndrew Hammerand - Digital Snapshot

That seemingly irrational paranoia of always being watched begins to rise when viewing photographs from Andrew Hammerand’s series, The New Town. The artist, currently based near Phoenix, Arizona, has created a power play in the dichotomy between watching and being watched. He offers us a glimpse into the lives of a small, Midwest town and its anonymous inhabitants by electronically accessing and controlling a webcam on a cellular tower, taking screen-shots of what was captured over the course of a year. This camera, overlooking the town, is appropriately located on a steeple of a church, giving new meaning to “omnipresent”. This camera is watching over the people, not unlike a higher power. The question is who is in charge, who has the power? Do the townspeople have power through the safety gained by being observed, or do we have the power because we are doing the looking? We live in a world of meta-data in which digital snapshots are constantly being taken, whether it is through the lens of literal cameras, or by information given from our Google searches.

One element that is especially significant in this remarkably unique series is the anonymity behind every aspect of it. The artist is unknown to the subjects being watched, the town’s location and peoples’ identity are also a mystery to us. Although we see small hints of each person’s life, what he or she is doing remains unclear. We have no indication if their intentions are malicious or moral. By nature, even the viewer is anonymous to the artist, especially when the artist’s work is being displayed through digital publications like this one. The grainy quality of the photos makes each composition all the more intriguing. We are wrapped up in the mystery, in the unknown story of these peoples’ lives. We see them playing in a park, pushing a stroller, and texting, but we do not know them at all. Even further, many of the subjects seem isolated in spite of being around others. Are we all detached through the lens of a camera, or does the convenience of the digital age connect our existence? Hammerand brilliantly gives rise to a slue of challenging questions and tests society’s progression into a super-digital age. Interconnecting technology, privacy issues, and digital culture, Hammerand’s work confronts contemporary politics in authority.

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Introducing The 3D Printed Dress That Turns Transparent When You Use Social Media


Being on social media makes us vulnerable. Anyone can track down your present or your past; the information is there and it is available. Even by tweeting and facebooking about the most mundane of things, Google and whichever company buys information off Facebook are able to know what to sell to you. This feeling of you when you’ve had that dream about being naked in public, yeah, Facebook and Google’s privacy invasions sometimes feel the same way.

In hopes that they could provide a more visual picture of what it means to be part of this post-privacy world, Xuedi Che and Pedro Oliveira of NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program  create x.pose, a “wearable, data-driven sculpture” made out of flexible, 3D-printed mesh and layers of reactive displays which are controlled via Arduino, an open source electronics prototyping platform specially made for creative interactive objects.

The dress is divided into sections, each corresponding to whatever neighborhood the wearer is tweeting or posting to Facebook from. This means that when the wearer logs onto Facebook or sends a tweet via smartphone, the dress connects via Bluetooth and becomes less opaque in the “area” where he or she is currently active, revealing a part of the wearer’s body.

The more personal data is released via smartphone, the more transparent the dress becomes. (via The Daily Dot)

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