Game Changer

Throughout my life I have been fascinated with optics, photography, film and video capture. As a creative artist photography provided me with an opportunity to freeze time, to trigger my memory and in some cases change history. The decision to undertake research as a postgraduate student at the University of Wollongong draws heavily upon this conceptual framework of the digitally mediated identity.

I faced many challenges in 2009 as I decided to engage in research activities, as the impact it had upon my family was profound. The many and varied unpaid research and associated activities I found myself amongst was the greatest challenge to everyone it seemed.

In late 2009 having made the decision to enrol in a Doctor of Philosophy through the University of Wollongong I took stock of what I had to manage on an everyday basis. I was recently married for the third time, had a young child with another on the way and I balanced life as a Company Director, Information Communication Technology consultant living between the fast life of Sydney, Australia and the rural community of Orange, New South Wales Australia. 

I recall at this point that concept of location enabled technologies became a real feature in body worn computers and cameras - a game changer and focus for my research interest. I also coined the following whilst on a car trip back from a ballooning festival with Geoff Lubich, fellow company director.

…The act of taking a photograph is just one facet of a digitally facilitated power differential. The subject, the photographer and relationally the substrate on which that photograph exists then fuses to a moment in history, a place, a time and an experience. The power to remain out of the field of view however, as the photographer has shifted markedly with the proliferation of CCTV surveillance and more recently the embedding of camera sensors in handheld or body worn technologies.

I had also started to deeply reflect on my daily and habitual use of technologies in a lifeworld context coining the following to suit that musing.

“…The forward facing camera on smartphones is and will probably remain for sometime one of the single most important human computing mechanisms which corporations tap and exploit for identity data matching, much like the automatic teller machine with its customer facing camera. The very same capability to engage within the ‘digital mirror’ means our collective consciousness as a humanity is reflected back to us with often alarming results.”