People Watching 3.0

In a previous post I wrote about Losing All Hope Was Freedom, a series of social experiments on video, where the “performer” takes the hands of strangers.

Now comes Surveillance Camera Man, who does nothing more than take video in places where you don’t expect to be recorded. Perhaps part of his point is that we are semi-surreptitiously recorded in all of those same places but we ignore it, and when it’s made explicit by a dude standing in front of you with a device, then it becomes wrong.

But there’s some other things happening here besides social commentary/activism. Michael Moore and Borat have created familiar entertainment forms around the unwanted and uncomfortable intruder. Watch the video below (which is at times almost anthropological, exploring context after context – including one heartbreaking example) and see if you don’t start to root for the cameraman. We become co-opted into voyeurism, curiously wondering who those people are or what’s in that room. I’m sure there’s some film theory bit that would explain why the POV shot is so easy to empathize with, regardless of how we would feel if we were in the viewfinder ourselves.

Updated: videos now here


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