Voyeurism and Surveillance

Our new project, Voyeurism and Surveillance, got given to us a short while ago.  I had been toying with the idea of a Big Brother themed idea, because to me Big Brother is the bridge between the both, it has a voyeuristic feel to it – a social experiment where total strangers enter a house and live together whilst every movement is captured on CCTV and broadcast for the general public to ‘enjoy’ as a tv show, whilst covering the surveillance aspect through the house-mates movements and conversations are picked up and monitored as an experiment.

This moved on to more modern ways of voyeurism and surveillance, the internet and social networking.  It is crazy to see what people upload to social networking sites and what you can find out about someone due to what the put on their ‘Profile Page’ –  a page that tells you about them, their date of birth, family members, where they work, the area they live, the music they like and even hobbies, interests, sexual orientation, whatever they want to share, you, as the viewer, can potentially see.

I originally started looking at people’s profiles that had lots of information viewable (not my actual friends, strangers profiles) and thought about using information that I could find out about that person to create a book about them and all this “found” info but am still unsure of this as I don’t really feel that there is much of a message for the viewer of my work to see.  I did think about internet security and how, even with things in place such as ‘Privacy Settings’ , people didn’t seem to are about what they were sharing and wanted to make people more aware of their internet security and to raise the question’s “Why share?” and “Is it necessary to share this much information?” .  I am still thinking along those lines, and still want to make a book but I’m thinking of pushing this whole concept and idea further in terms of audience participation.  Changing people’s thoughts about internet security and information sharing may not come from just seeing a book full of information I have collected from other people’s profiles, it may come from the processes we go through in sharing information over the internet, it’s so quick and easy to type in something and click a button that we rarely think about it any more, but what if we went back to pens and paper to share information and it became a more physical and thought about process?

My Thoughts On … Tumblr and We Heart It

I am still not sure that I understand the whole concept of “photo blogging” sites like Tumblr and We Heart It. From what I have seen of these sites it seems that all users do is re-share images taken or made by someone else (or lyrics or sayings too…). I don’t understand how these sites can be called blogs when all you are doing is liking an image that you have not taken and then “blogging” it.

Now two things strike me about all this, 1 being that you are not really blogging anything. To me the idea of a blog is that it is like writing a journal, whether it is themed (like mine is) to a topic (photography and art) or it is just a place to vent your thoughts and feelings on the day you have had, whatever, the “blog” and writing/ideas are yours.

This brings me onto my second ‘thing’ about these sites, what you are sharing is not yours. I have no real idea of how I would feel if images I had taken began circulating on these kind of sites but I imagine that a big part of me would be horrified, I would like to be asked permission for my images to be shared but it seems that these sites promote sharing regardless of whether permission to share has been granted or not. And once one person shares one of your images, then another person does, then another and another and so it gets published and viewed by so many people and you have no control over that. I have been watching Tumblr especially as I have an account (it really doesn’t have anything on there…), it seems that you can become “Tumblr famous” for the things you share and the followers you get. People can get famous from sharing work that isn’t theirs…that’s just crazy! For someone who feels a bit nervous about sharing work at the best of times I’m not totally crazy about it all going global so quickly.

Then there is the other issue I have with it, not for myself personally, but say an up coming image maker ends up with a ton of work shared and seen on one of these sites, then holds an exhibition, would people get put off going as they had already ‘seen’ the work on the net?

I just really don’t understand “photo blogging/sharing” sites like Tumblr…