Networked Culture – Surveillance

Surveillance and sousveillance has always been a pressing issue especially when it deals with the right for privacy. The need for the policy to ensure safety and low crime rates is undeniable and lives can be saved with the use of it, some believe it to be intrusive and invasive especially when they are not aware of when they are being captured or surveilled. With Snowden’s whistleblowing towards the government’s policies of mass surveillance, the public’s debate about information privacy, national security and mass surveillance has definitely heightened.  Yet, most people forget that cameras and surveillance exists in so many softwares and application that they use daily that it is almost impossible to do without. Even games that detect the movement of body like Nintendo’s Wii uses surveillance technology.

The issue of surveillance brings into mind an artwork by Nam June Paik. Entitled “TV Buddha”, the interactive piece constitutes a miniature statue of Buddha sitting in front of a tiny television with a surveillance camera. THe image of Buddha is transmitted in real time to the television and projected onto the screen. The viewer may also appear on the screen if they stood behind the Buddha, thus making this an interactive piece of work. The piece also highlights the fusion of traditional and modern. What relates this work with the topic of surveillance and sousveillance is in the blurring of the subject and object. Is the Buddha watching the television, or is the television capturing the image of the Buddha? The dual nature of the subject and object thus is similar to surveillance and sousveillance.

Makers Culture: DIWO


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by Matt Blease

DIWO – Do It With Others extends the ethos of net art towards a more collaborative approach, combining the Internet, experimental artistic mediums and creativity to, expanding the possibilities of art and the role of the artist and the audience.

In an age where people of a wide range of age, culture and creed have access to digital platforms through their devices, the issue of overwhelming virtual interaction is pertinent and seems to be in a sense substituting and overtaking real life interaction between people. Yet, DIWO encourages both virtual and real life interaction between people.

The fact that DIWO platforms do not discriminate in who can engage with it, expands the outreach of materials on the platform, thus strengthening the voice of the artist or designer who has created the work. As mentioned in the essay, traditional methods of exhibiting works such as that by Saatchi and Saatchi constraints the outreach of the work in and limits the type of people who can be exposed to the works. With increased outreach comes more exposure to the opinions of other people engaged in the platform which knows no boundaries. Thus the ability to receive feedback and exchange of information boosts the experience and the works of the artist.

The existence of a collaborative platform also blurs the boundaries and the roles between artist and audience. Allowing active participation from the audience turns the work into a large collaborative effort between creator and participant, constantly allowing the work to evolve in real time, resulting in a maker culture that is unprecedented and unique to contemporary times.

With platforms such as VisitorsStudios bringing about great changes in how artist and audience interact with each other, the boundaries of art is stretched much further as compared to traditional forms of art. With real time art, software art, net art and participatory art all readily available, the art world has transformed into a more inclusive one as compared to before. This is because the increase in the types of works considered art means more people can be called artists and the interest scope of the general public towards art may increase. Art no longer exists just for elites, as it was originally, but for the public.

Open Source Culture

Open Source is a open software that facilitates the sharing of creative material online for any identity to use or engage in. It is a concept that contrasts the nature of copyright issue, which exists to protect the copyright holder’s material, be it books, media, music, film etc. However, Open Source materials can be used by anyone, and anyone can share his or her materials with everyone else. In a way, this has been the way creative content has always been shared, before the emergence of Copyright. The article explains that art is a social act, that it is naturally a two way mode of communication where artist and audience exchange ideas, yet proprietarianism has changed this nature of art.

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Open Source challenges the  traditional proprietary modes of artistic creation and production by providing a platform for people from all walks of life to engage in creative content exchange, just like the way creation and production used to be. The creator may share his content with everyone, and in exchange receive feedbacks and revision. Creative content is therefore as much of a product of society as it is of the creator or any individual that engages in the content.