Thursday, March 20, 2008

Jenni's Window

Obviously, Jenni's camera serves as a window--at least in one direction. The viewers can see her. But to what extent does it let Jenni look out? Apparently she took the camera with her from her dorm room to her first apartment, telling Ira Glass "I felt lonely without the camera." She got hundreds of e-mails a day, but how much about her viewers could those messages have possibly told her? Victor Burgin suggests that Jennifer is similar to the child who feels safer jumping off the couch as long as her mother is looking. The attachment she felt to the camera would appear to support that. Thomas Keenan, as well, writes that the window-light is a source of "comfort and protection" to humans. Is it unusual for Jenni to feel comforted just because hundreds of strangers are watching her? Could this unique type of tele-window, where hundreds of people can see one person but not the other way around--a reverse panopticon--have been reproduced without the webcam?
Another question: Jenni writes in her FAQ that "I do anything . . . that any person would do in the whole of their house." Does anyone believe this? Capture systems affect what they measure, and people don't act real on reality television.

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