EXP.INT | sousveillance

Surveillance, is a term many people are familiar with. It’s a French term, for “to watch from above”, which describes situations where person(s) of higher authority, such as security guards, department store owners, watch over people. (shoppers/citizens)

Sousveillance is something newly introduced, contradicting surveillance, as it relates to bringing cameras from the heavens, “down to earth”. Sous-veillance is French for “to watch from below”, the complete opposite from surveillance.

There are two aspects of sousveillance, hierarchy reversal & human-centeredness which are often interchangeable.

Sousveillance’s mainly acts as a tool for multimedia artists, for effortless capturing, processing, storing, recalling and transmitting of an activity by a participant in the activity.

Even in Singapore, sousveillance is getting more common, especially seen in STOMP, whereby users upload videos of other people, to raise social issues. Even drivers, they have cameras installed to record the happenings on the road.

In relation to Fine Arts, sousveillance is very much like “living art”. The sousveillance industry has been growing ever since, with workshops held. With the advancement in technology and art, there are more varieties of sousveillance art, one being lightvector painting, mentioned in the article.

Personally, I have a love-hate relationship with sousveillance art, especially when it involves human interaction. I like the concept whereby there are no hierarchical standing between both parties, and have a personal touch. But, there might be people taking advantage of it, resulting in an invasion of privacy. Per say STOMP, many users upload videos of other people with bad behaviour, and shaming them online, and the people in the video might not even know they are getting video-ed.

The intention of sousveillance might be good and useful, but with the addition of the Internet and social media, it might turn things the other way.

This actually caused me to be more aware of my surroundings, and always be on my best behaviour in public, as we won’t know, we might be the next people that get video-ed without consent and leaking it online.

Till then,

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