Other Ten Percent 12/6/11

Dec 06 2011

And now, we see what I can write about one single link in 25 minutes during my lunch break:

————–Book Ideas In a Link—————-
so for a while now I’ve been kicking around the idea for a book that is roughly “In Defense of the Surveillance State” or rather, I’ve been kicking around an idea that’s kept expanding until it is now roughly book length. The idea behind it is essentially that since we’re pretty much stuck with privacy being dead lets stop fighting that battle and start talking about what we can get out of it and the ways that it might actually be for the best. Basically fears of a robot revolution were based on some pretty valid things (anxiety about class disputes and power along with increased mechanization) but it turns out that robots are way weirder than we were expecting. In the same way fears of ubiquitous surveillance are based on valid problems with abuses of authority (see also: all of history) but it turns out that trying to scale up a panopticon creates something way weirder than 1984.

So all of that has been floating around in my head and then I found this talk about a design aesthetic called, creatively, “The New Aesthetic.” The New Aesthetic starts off being roughly about the leaking of digital aesthetics into the real world. The weird pixel art statue stuff that Warren Ellis was talking about which is fun enough but then the whole thing starts shifting out of the world of art and into the world of data visualization and photography and things get WEIRD.

This guy starts throwing out a ton of different ideas that all seem like they could be a whole chapter in a book about the second order effects of ubiquitous cameras. I’d kind of just assumed that the digitalization of the real world was kind of a bad thing because it was effectively about how the world wasn’t machine readable enough and we were making it that way but he recontextualizes it as a commentary from people who are used to seeing the world through digital eyes (He mentions Beyonce as the patron saint of this New Aesthetic around here and…man does that make sense now that I think about it.) THEN he sort of abandons the digitalization of the real world entirely and starts talking bout using Google Earth as a historical record, a historical record of a scale that we’ve basically never seen before and then we start seeing the weird second order effects of seeing via machines with stuff like camouflage that doesn’t hide you from physical view but gives off a false heat-signature for an IR camera for instance.

I’m making this the only link in OTP today because the talk is 50 minutes long and there’s basically no other way to consume it and I really REALLY think you guys ought to watch it. I’ve only had time here to mention like half of the cool stuff that comes up in here. I guess my core point is that when you start looking at the effects of digital photography being cheap and EVERYWHERE it starts feeling like basically everything digital is starting to be about the weird second order effects of having a record of everything.

578 words in about 20 minutes. This format isn’t half bad. Should probably start working in some proofing time in the future but today I have TV club in the evening so that’ll have to be part of tomorrow’s experiment.

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