Surveillance and the Shiny Click Bait
The central part of the "Surveillance" exhibition "Surveillance and the Shiny Click Bait" is a depiction of the transaction of disclosing private information in exchange for clicking on a shiny click bait thing. The camera is a symbol of surveillance and rich information gathering, while the tempting dynamic coloured ball is well the shiny thing. We click on it from curiosity, boredom, a desire for a dopamine release, enticement, or maybe just because we like to buy the offer that is presented. In doing so we give up a lot of private information about ourselves to teenagers. Facebook and Twitter are after all teenagers and most of the on-line big data surveillance and analytics is new.
In the exhibition "Surveillance", I advance the notion that we are doomed to give up our personal information. The phone in your pocket is a GPS enabled tracking device. eCommerce is convenient but tracks our spending habits. Our facebook interests can very accurately predict our voting habits. Our faces can be recognized and profiled in real time. This is not 1984. We are way past that.
Yet all the surveillance is just data. It is only data until some human engineered algorithm or an actual human acts on it. How? Well they, for example, offer you something you googled in your Facebook feed to buy. Convenience? Perhaps. If you are actively looking for something to buy it would be beneficial for you to find just the right thing at the right price.
But the technology is very new. And errors can occur. What if for example you are at an airport and all of a sudden, through no fault of your own, you are told you are on the no fly list? Some algorithm or some human has analyzed your data and made an error. You argue with the local security people but you loose.
So we need to get used to unprecedented surveillance and data mining but please, surveillance professionals, let's get the conclusions right with no errors.
That is a tall order.
Minimalist Industrial Assembly on plywood with an actual aircraft surveillance camera, firing range ear protection headset, and coloured wooden ball on stiff wire. 24" X 32", done 2015 and exhibited as part of the "Surveillance" exhibition.