Saturday, March 20, 2010

S03- Capture and the Cave

I was excited to see how relevant this week’s readings were to my post last week about Thomas Levine’s lecture. I especially liked the Agre’s essay about capture; it seems to me that in discussing Levine’s concerns with data and privacy, it would be more useful to think in terms of the capture model, rather than to focus simply on surveillance as Levine did in his lecture. Once again, I was struck by the difference in tone between Levine and Professor Chun/Agre: Levine’s paranoia vs. a calm development of critical theory/call for further research and theorization. Levine wanted us to be horrified at the commodification of information so easily enabled by the capture model, while Agre explored and wondered at the use of this commodified information. I found Agre’s approach a lot more useful, especially because it opens up a way to look at how the capture model itself might be useful. Agre’s discussion of capture in relation to Taylorism (that capture does not require a “de-skilling” of the worker as Taylorism does, since it does not require a fragmentation of tasks) was very interesting. How might capture be, or to what extent is it actually empowering? As Professor Chun explained in lecture, once you figure out what is being captured, you can work to be more efficient.

The Cave was an interesting experience. I was lucky enough to have to very tall young men in my group, so we were able to see quite clearly how the perspective from which we viewed the art depended on the position of the tracked (or “captured) glasses. When one of the taller students wore the glasses, everyone else also perceived himself or herself to be looking down on the images. When someone of average height wore the glasses, we all seemed to be looking head on at the images. When I wore the glasses, the images seemed to be slightly higher than before; we had to look up a little. This made me wonder if a total capture model would be able to change our perception of the world around us. If every move that we make is captured and this data is captured and analyzed in real-time, could someone/something react quickly enough to change our perception of reality as it plays out, or even to alter the real world get a certain response from us? This could probably work if we were all in the Matrix...

EDIT: I just saw this article and had to add it to my post -- To Sway Sales, Cameras Track Shoppers -- I think it speaks to the questions I asked above; cameras are used to track shoppers, whose actions are analyzed to find ways to improve the shopping experience/generate more revenue for the company.

No comments: