Sun
Jul 27 2008 2:18pm

Who's watching back?

Tor.com blogger and art-department guy Pablo Defendini's just-for-fun silkscreened poster for Cory Doctorow's Little Brother has already become something of a meme. Now Cory, at Boing Boing, notes a report in Seattle's The Stranger that the "camerahead" image from Pablo's poster is being deployed as political theater, in a protest against the City of Seattle's decision to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on surveillance cameras installed throughout the city's public parks.

Art is weird. You never know what, of all the things you try, will catch on. And the most long-lived residue of our work is sometimes a second-order derivative.

13 comments
Simon Webster
1. simon
I wonder in turn if Pablo was influenced by The Residents, with their eyeball heads.

I love the way ideas can spread from person to person, mutating along the way.
Arachne Jericho
2. arachnejericho
Ah, Seattle, home of the defunct Monorail that's too big for its rails, the underground rail system that turned out to only be able to run buses (even after its 3-year remake), and the public bathrooms in Pioneer Square that cost thousands of dollars and is of course used by no one but druggies. And now we're spending thousands of dollars to remove them.

My so-called home city. The cameras will add just that more fun to the area.

I'm glad I actually live on the other side of Puget Sound, on an island where people still are at the stage of squabbling over how much green land to keep and where, like the ubiquitous small towns in mystery cozies, but with more boats.
Moshe Feder
3. Moshe
The minute I saw that artwork in the office I said to Irene that we ought to issue it as a poster. I think it's great that someone picked up on it to make a protest costume. Pablo must be tickled.

The increasing ubiquity of video is a classic two-edged sword. Yes, government surveillance of public spaces makes me nervous -- as it would anyone who grew up on Orwell -- but surveillance, in the form of citizen-video, can also be a force for good.

For example, check out this item in the The New York Times's City Room blog about an egregious incident of police misbehavior. The report wouldn't exist without someone having been in the right place at the right time with a video-recording device:

Police Investigate Officer in Critical Mass Video
Bridget McGovern
4. BMcGovern
I think that's the greatest thing I've heard all summer--meaning the costume, of course, and the protest; not so much the surveillance. As excellent as the Camerahead imagery is, it's always more fun to be the kid with the slingshot...
Bruce Cohen
5. SpeakerToManagers
As excellent as the Camerahead imagery is, it's always more fun to be the kid with the slingshot...

Arms Race! Arms Race! I want to be the fiddler crab; you can be the Bird of Paradise!
Scott Taylor
6. izzylobo
Arms Race! Arms Race! I want to be the fiddler crab; you can be the Bird of Paradise!

So your new title is going to be Speaker to Hondas?
SpeakerToManagers
7. SpeakerToManagers
izzylobo,

That crab's misshapen: both his claws are the same size!
Pablo Defendini
9. pablodefendini
cameraheadpaul-- you, sir, are a badass. A tip of the hat, and then some.

moshe-- tickled doesn't even begin to describe it.
paul strong
10. cameraheadpaul
A tip of the giant camera on my head and a wink of my shutter eye to you as well.

Did you look through some of the pics yet?
SpeakerToManagers
11. essaytch
@arachnejericho--don't forget about the lightrail that we voted "no" on, but they're building anyway! At least it will get us from Ballard to the airport and back again.Hey wait a minute...I don't live in Ballard! Hmmm...this could prove pointless and costly.
Scott Taylor
12. izzylobo
That crab's misshapen: both his claws are the same size!

He had some surgical augmentation done.

All the better to pinch.
Scott Taylor
13. izzylobo
cameraheadpaul -
We are watching, and our numbers are growing.

This, sir, is made of win and righteousness.

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