The following are experiments that the writer has conducted and purposely taken to the extreme in order to (a) illustrate a point and (b) experience reactions and observations first hand. It is not likely that the average reader would go to these extremes but some more subtle variations of these experiments will still provide similar insight or reactions.
WearCam concept: MaybeCam
Maybe CameraYou cannot patent a mere "idea", but, rather, the idea must first be reduced to practice. Similarly, you cannot copyright an idea, it must first manifest itself as some tangible form. Conceptual art, however, provides us with a means where the idea itself is the contribution.
- Take one piece 1/8 inch black or dark acrylic, cut to 3 by 4 inches.
- Obtain a bulky sweatshirt in your size.
For your protection, a video record of you and your establishment may be transmitted and recorded at remote locations.Lay out the lettering so as to leave room for the acrylic between the words "locations" and "ALL" ("locations" to be at the end of one line of text, and "ALL" to begin the next line of text).
ALL CRIMINAL ACTS PROSECUTED
- Affix the acrylic securely to the shirt.
- Wear the completed shirt into a department store or other location where
- video surveillance is used but
- photography is prohibited (this criterion can be determined experimentally even before the shirt is made, by entering the proposed establishment with a 35mm camera or the like, and taking pictures within said establishment in a somewhat obvious manner).
The above piece is entitled "Maybe Camera --- Who's Paranoid?". Just as the customer doesn't know what's in the mysterious ceiling dome of wine-dark opacity, and must therefore be on his best behaviour at all times, so too, the shopkeeper doesn't know what's inside the customer's shirt, and likewise must be on his best behaviour at all times.
Probably CameraDepending on the level of paranoia, if `Maybe-Camera...' is not "understood" by your audience, then perhaps the following conceptual/performance/reflectionist piece would be:
- Obtain one miniature (12 inches in diameter or smaller) ceiling dome of wine-dark opacity, together with a camera and pan-tilt-zoom mechanism suitable for that dome.
- Affix dome to backpack, facing backwards, cutting appropriate mounting hole in backback, leaving sufficient space, and installing appropriate housing for camera and pan-tilt-zoom mechanism. Leave the camera out for the time being.
- Insert a small battery powered computer equipped with video capture hardware, and means of controlling the function of the pan-tilt-zoom controls automatically.
- Insert into the pack, means of wireless communication to/from the Internet, or to/from an Internet gateway/server.
- Prepare software to allow the function of the apparatus to be controlled remotely via a WWW page, with ability to capture and display images from the camera if the camera is present. Make this WWW page world-accessible and known to various people around the world.
- Leave the work area and have someone else do the final assembly in your absence, according to the following instructions: Roll two dice, and:
- If the total comes to two or three, insert into the dome a small light bulb, affixed to the pan-tilt-zoom sensor but connected to it in no way, together with sufficient ballast into the pack to make up the difference in weight between the bulb and the camera, so that the wearer could not determine this difference by weight.
- If the dice total exceeds three, insert the camera, properly mounting it and connecting it to video digitizer. Verify its operation using a Web browser of your choice.
- Wear backpack together with shirt (`Maybe Camera...'), into a record store, preferably Tower Records, where ceiling domes of wine-dark opacity are used. If asked if it is a camera, or what it is, indicate that you're not certain, but point out the domes upon their ceiling and indicate the similarity, so that perhaps it could be a light fixture. (Security guards at Tower records have informed the author that their ceiling domes of wine-dark opacity are "light fixtures")
No CameraDan Graham uses video time delay together with mirrors, etc., to create a delay between cause and effect. His video feedback involves both senses of the word "feedback": (1) the cameras "sees" the screen which is displaying the output from the camera, and (2) the users who see themselves on the screen adjust their behaviour according to this psychological "feedback". A conceptual piece, involving time-delay, to symbolize the disjointness between cause and effect that video recording creates is now described:
- Place pinhole camera and microphone into baseball cap, and record video from an establishment where photography, filming, and the like is strictly prohibited, but where video surveillance is used, and where there are documented cases of hidden cameras having been used. While recording video, talk to members of establishment, including manager. Ask whether or not they use video surveillance, and if so, why they are videotaping you without your permission. Ask what their "ceiling domes of wine-dark opacity" are, if any are present.
- Leave this establishment, and return with the following, but without the camera:
- Flat-panel television screen affixed to shirt.
- Source of previously recorded video material.
- Means of switching between previously recorded material and standard broadcast television channels.
- Play the previously recorded video on the television screen, and if you are informed that photography, filming, or the like, is prohibited, indicate that there is NO CAMERA, and that what you are wearing is merely a television. Switch through the various channels, indicating that one of them (the one playing the previously recorded material) looks like it "must be a local channel --- a VERY local channel".