Sousveillance is about one recording their activities through portable personal devices. Sousveillance, the watching from below, the many watching the few, is the opposite of surveillance, the watching from above, the few watching the many. They are similar in that information is recorded as a form of visual monitoring, though they differ in purpose and scale. 

While we have surveillance which is used by governing bodies or legal systems to oversee a large group of people at once, sousveillance is personal, where we focus on the specific activities of a person. Surveillance is commonly used, and a necessity, as it allows eyes to consistently watch over certain places, this deters actions that are deemed out of place or illegal. Security cameras, people instinctively avoid making trouble in their lines of sight for one, visual data and evidence can be kept if trouble is made and two, the fear or wariness of such visual data will psychologically affect the person with such intention to cause trouble. Just by having the idea that someone is watching them passively, surveillance is essential in our world when we have public areas that need such protection.

Sousveillance however, is rather different. The purpose is relatively unclear, one can document the activities in their life, one can review footage to see what they could have done differently or what dangers might have befell this person who is recording. What changes the most is the idea of individuality; sousveillance is the recording on a specific person, which is fundamentally different from the watching of everyone in a specific area. Similarly they can be used to watch others and have the data in a visual manner. Perhaps in the same way, crime can be deterred if everyone walks around with a camera. There is power to witnessing and making claims with a visual data to backup the claims after all.

Sousveillance allows us to express what could not have been done in the past through mere claims. To be able to review what one has done in such a manner is interesting, in a way it can feel like travelling across time to revisit experiences. But of course, there is always the matter of illegal photography in both cases. If done right, I believe both are beneficial to our society and to us as individuals.




Do It With Others (DIWO), what is it? It is based on the idea to co-create, where the focus is to co-produce and collaborate across the network instead of a chain of command downwards. Beginning as an individual, one opens up ideas, knowledge, experience, skills and more to adding towards a network. The idea is collaborative platform for like-minded people to work together rather than as a DIY task or project.

As with the nature of DIWO, it can be crowdsourcing to focus on a specific task, and the lack of direct control of a single authority will not restrict the creativity and abilities of individuals. However in the same sense there will be more chaos in creation and hence it is not commonly used as it might be hard for stakeholders to have a say or control the project.

Marc Garrett believes “the practice of DIWO allows space for an openness where a rich mixing of components from different sources crossover and build a hybrid experience”, to be able to renegotiate power roles between artists and curators, and rather than the outcome, what is important is the process. He mentions taking an interest in different ideas instead of crossing them out. Hence to create a platform for a larger creative collaboration together, which may result and a larger creative outcome. When various levels of experience and skill for creative collaboration are involved, an approach that views and solves a problem at different levels can be formed. The improved and integrated pool of knowledge and abilities would thus benefit the projects in the long run.

However I would think there would be setbacks to the DIWO concept as well. While projects may work and better at certain aspects, the lack of direct control by an authority could create troubles if opinions conflict. To have everything go through the process of collective creation might also be time consuming and easily agreeable or obvious matters might take a few more steps than required as the process goes through a network of minds to get done. It is like micromanaging for a large project, while everything might be done and a manner than satisfies everyone, too much time and effort may be consumed in the process, which could delay or even wear out the morale of everyone.

So while DIWO seems like a good concept to create higher levels of work, I believe it should be used sparingly to be able to utilise the benefits the most, while encountering hindrances the least.

Open Source as culture

Open Source 

According to the Open Source Initiative, paraphrased, for something to be open source it has to fulfill certain requirements:

  • no restriction or fees from selling or giving away  components of aggregate software
  • program must include source code and allowing distribution in source code as well as compiled form in the preferred form in which a programmer would modify the program
  • license must allow modifications and derived works and allow them to be distributed under the same terms as the original
  • no restriction against persons, groups, or purposes used
  • having a neutral license which is distributed

Why is it done this way? It derives from ideology that innovation is the result of exploitation from the innovator for commercial gain. By having high restrictions on sharing, modifying and using existing code, this gives power back to the users and groups that utilize the code for their own purposes.

To protect and benefit creators to support innovation we have copyright. This is a legal right that grants creators exclusive rights to their work. However copyright creates monopoly while it accommodates proprietary software and their profit.

Richard Stallman, a computer scientist working for MIT could not access the code which could upgrade his software, as companies denied his request. Upset by the culture that was restrictive in freedom created by these companies, he and a group of like-minded individuals created a Free Software Foundation GNU to counter the inhibitions on creativity and freedom of speech.

Open source addresses copyright. The perception of proprietary ideology is being changed and is gaining support. While having open source as the primary means of sharing being debatable, it is slowly growing, and may be a part of our culture in the future.