Photoborg

By August 2009 I had the distinct feeling that the camera ‘was’ me, and I was a photoborg. 

Everywhere I went, everyone I interacted with across a personal and professional context were either explicitly or covertly captured by my phone camera and upload to a number of online mobile blogging or moblogging platforms from Moblog.co.uk (now Moblog.net) or Flickr. In most cases my camera captures were made available publicly via these online platforms and the whereabouts of these data were then aggregated also across social networking communities. 

My interactions with others I claimed were very much focussed on the aesthetic of image capture, the poetic manner in which an image could speak a thousand words yet I knew it was far more insidious than that. My complicit intentions were surveillant and acting in a manner of ‘documenta’.  My mobile logs or moblogs show a continuum of unmitigated visual interrogation of the environment which surrounded myself and others. It was also the fifth year since I had been taking ‘selfies’ and the realisation that the panoptic vision had moved from an outwards facing lens to a forward facing camera. 

The mobile phone for me was rarely used to make telephone calls and served principally as a wearable computer, to receive emails, to take camera photos and video, to perform calculations, to message others. I noted in 2009 that I consciously no longer wore a watch and no longer sought paper maps to navigate to locations. By virtue of my mobile blogging activity, many people I began to notice avoided contact with me knowing that being around meant they were being captured and transmitted into locations where their image and the details around that meeting including IPTC and GIS data were being shared openly. 

I recall feeling invincible in my physical actions, in being defended by my ‘network’ and by those who preached that openness and connection in a digital realm were the key to our primary existence, where physical interaction with others was expensive, bias and stifling. Discussions in my professional workplace centred around digital identity, information management, personal security and lastly, privacy.