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Re: <nettime> DECONtamination CONtagium
eyescratch on Sun, 13 Oct 2002 08:39:28 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> DECONtamination CONtagium

Ana, and, yes, it has taken some time to reply to your concise 
leveling of the issues surrounding the discourse on privacy. Some 
thoughts cobbled together over the last two weeks....

Well, in terms of artist using the medium of surveillance, a scheme 
of accountability would resultantly limit access to these streams of 
unconscious matter. Isn't it the thought behind these apparatuses 
that needs to be questioned, and not the medium itself? 
Accountability rings with the call to put a chip in your arm and all 
doors open. Man gets busted after using metrocard to enter  {AT}  avenue A 
and exit at boulevard B  {AT}  such-and-such o'clock. The number on the 
card matched the number on the amber alert sign. etc. A lottery of 

Does what we do and who we are privately make us recognizable to the 
system by making you uniquely you? No, I answer my own question, 
because we have a second self to represent us, which is monitored 
discreetly;- otherwise the idea of privacy as a social good escapes 

Video-surveillance has an eerie quality to it, but it has become a 
stage for some,http://www.notbored.org/the-scp.html, and has even 
been conveniently picked up for re-staging and re-cycling. So 
accountability is mirrored sardonically by what can be recognized in 
the fuzzy picture. Not much to the naked eye, but that makes it all 
the more appealing to the generalized consensus. Police officers on 
the stage of retribution in the reality show. The kitsch, armored 
version can be found at JCPenny: 
http://www.antiwar.com/comment/0900631b805e1807L.jpg - the forward 
command post, easily designed with roof and just one wall - logically 
placed towards the line of fire. A plastic antithesis to _Ulysses 

But I am getting caught up in an aesthetic discussion. I wonder how 
your discussion of privacy as a social good contrasts with the 
sixties sedition on the constitution of group dynamics. Forming 
groups, acting in consort, creating fluid dynamics in groups, 
anti-authoritarian models. Should we demand personal victories from 
others or just from the system of control? When, and which way are we 
stepping out of bounds?

And when a system does not constitute itself on values as such, 
perhaps instead, hinges on, say creative effort, like nettime 
perhaps, recently encountering a majordomo exception, do we need 
victories at all? When are we just wandering around in a MOO where 
everyone politely tips their hat?

I guess I am wondering whether privacy constitutes itself of personal 
victories or is it just the ability to shut off every once in a while 
and not put on that morning face. I am reminded of _cocoon_ for some 
reason, its voyeuristic quality bathed in youthful exuberance.

Today all these issues came to the forefront here in a central park 
dust bowl, where 40,000 people co-mingled to the chant of NOT IN OUR 
NAME. This slogan seems to put its foot on the issue squarely: people 
claiming a group identity that is opposed to wholesale peddling of 
rights and peace on earth so that the spoiled brats of oil riches may 
hijack history on the world stage. This is all sounding pedantic, 
perhaps because there was a pledge we all asked to make, to step out 
of the shadow of a chain of events that currently brew to the boil of 
war, and take a stand. We don't even know what a 'successful' war 
will bring; it seems those perpetuating are only interested in its 
means, to no end.

I see a conundrum in the word private - sometimes denoting ownership 
and sometimes being something much more visceral, a la Wolf. But 
there must be a reason why you get busted down to private in the 
military. Does it have to do with the delegation of responsibility 
and accountability in a command structure? It seems that as the 
notion of private property erodes, our right to privacy erode as 
well, and all this due to the propping up of the regime of late 

Vaclav Havel put it this way recently at the Graduate Center here in 
New York - after the velvet revolution, which he described as a fairy 
tale in this instance, he was forced to fall back to earth to the 
cold reality of politics. Yet after dealing in this political and 
very public space for thirteen years, which he characterized as 
eroding slowly his ideals he came to realize that another fairy tale 
was taking shape, a tale that did not constitute itself of questions 
of what his goals for changing the world are but of what he had 
achieved to change the world. Do we dare acknowledge another fiction 
taking shape?

À 9:13 AM -0400 le 10/3/02, Ana Viseu a écrit:
>I agree with your definition of surveillance as a 'passive-agressive 
>non-entity'. Although I would say that the hope underlying it is not 
>that you don't step out of line (there are mechanisms to deal with 
>deviations) but that you internalize the logic itself. The moment 
>the logic of surveillance becomes internalized the disciplinization 
>comes from within rather than being imposed from outside.


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