No subject

Fri May 17 12:15:57 EST 2013

nses to data surveillance & home security etc) in light of assumptions abou=
t performance or else (re:  Dr Challenger /McKenzie), choreography or else,=
 interactivity or else?

One of the manifesto-like presumptions of the METABODY project that is laun=
ched now in Madrid is the perceived need to "elaborate a critical study of =
cultural homogenisation, social control and global surveillance in Informat=
ion Society, and to develop new technocultural paradigms that highlight emb=
odied differentials: the irreducible and changing differences of bodies and=
 contexts, expressions and relations, not for the sake of predicting, but o=
f developing a social ecology that foregrounds unpredictability and emergen=
ce, exceeding capitalistic appropriation and preemption: The project will u=
ndertake a critical study of contemporary aesthetics of control, in which q=
uantification of all activities via reduction to information patterns perme=
ates all areas of life, subduing it increasingly to an implicitly militaris=
tic regime of control while being presented as a desirable condition where =
connectivity equates liberation, and control becomes a hidden variable of t=
he fallacious equation." []

In my recollection, many of the dance tech experiments we made in the darke=
ned studio over the years did not address such a need, and that's of course=
 my own shortcoming if I had been alert enough to the fact that the capture=
 systems I used resembled other panopticon or control systems except that w=
e thought we were making dances rather than collecting data from our privat=
e sphere, our behaviors, our thoughts, our connections, our movement, our g=
estures, our
desires, etc.  What were we collecting and how did such performance "collec=
tion" play into the abhorrent story of consumption & data trails we now see=
 unfolding more clearly.

The matter of data consumption (with all these entanglements that Simon cor=
rectly implied) was addressed in an article I saw this week by Evgeny Moroz=

"Information Consumerism - The Price of Hypocrisy"   [FAZ, 07/24/2103:   ht=
merism-the-price-of-hypocrisy-12292374.html ]

In the article, he argues at one point that

What will happen in five years, as all objects and appliances turn =93smart=
=94 =96 i.e. they suddenly have a cheap but sophisticated sensor built into=
 them =96 and become connected to each other and to the Internet? Many such=
 objects are already commercially available and many more will be soon: sma=
rt forks that monitor how fast we eat; smart toothbrushes that monitor how =
often we brush our teeth; smart shoes that tell us when they are about to g=
et worn out; smart umbrellas that go online to check when it will rain and =
warn us to take them with us on leaving the house. And then, of course, the=
re=92s that smartphone dangling in your pocket and =96 soon =96 Google Glas=
ses adoring your face.

All these objects are capable of generating a data trail. Collect informati=
on from several such objects, put it together and =96 functionally at least=
=96 you can generate the same inferences and predictions that NSA generates=
 by watching our email communications or phone records. In other words, NSA=
 can figure out where you are by monitoring your cellphone =96 or by gettin=
g data from your smart shoes or your smart umbrella. Likewise, they don=92t=
 have to install a security camera in your kitchen to know what you=92ve be=
en eating: they can figure it out by tinkering with the smart toothbrush in=
 your toothbrush or the smart trashbin in your kitchen. If we don=92t consi=
der these new listening devices in our legal calculus, there=92s little poi=
nt to build the world=92s most secuire email system or a mobile network: NS=
A will obtain data that allows them to continue their work through other, m=
ore creative means.
They might even buy IT on the open market. Some dismiss such concerns, argu=
ing that our email communication feels too private to be sold as if it were=
 just another commodity. True. However, we are perfectly okay with having a=
 Google algorithm scour through our email in order to show us an ad. It=92s=
 this customized ad =96 based on automated on-the-fly analysis and classifi=
cation =96 that allows to keep Google=92s sophisticated (and rather costly)=
 email system free of charge. Note that it=92s this tacit agreement =96 tha=
t Google can use an algorithm to analyze our email communications and sell =
us the matching adds =96 that keeps our email communication both free and a=
ccessible to the NSA. Google could have easily chosen to encrypt our commun=
ications in a way that its own algorithms wouldn=92t be able to decipher, d=
epriving both itself and the NSA of much-coveted data. But then Google woul=
dn=92t be able to offer us a free service. And who would be happy about thi=

Morozov seems to sketch an overview of intelligent objects, textures and de=
vices in our environments interconnected to everything we communicate and s=
earch for, and given a reliance on commercial hardware and software and pro=
viders, we are consumers working closely with amazon, google and NSA and ou=
r critical awareness of the entanglement was all we had and it couldn't do =
much for us. Of course to argue that interactivity is aesthetically boring =
is not a way out of the catch 22 either, it is too late. We shall have been=
 defined by the control systems we created (Yossarian said), and what happe=
ns now, Carol-Ann, to our individual or community living management?

with regards
Johannes Birringer

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