Beyond Surveillance Meeting Notes for 3/19/06 at Mess Hall

(a Chicago portion of the International Day Against Video Surveillance)

What is a body? How many different ways can we see/conceptualize body? (shadow/image/touch/money/consumer/oppressed/marketvalue/distance)
To what degree is surveillance reliant on the body/identity as a basic unit? (How are bodies constructed in the eye of surveillance? Is a body simply a node where certain phone numbers come together? As we zoom in/out do the bodies become aggregate/disaggregate bodies?) What is an individual?
Identity and capitalism are mutually generated.
Data vs. you? (Is this a fair binary?) Can we trouble that link? What is “you” anyway?
Sh. presented her project involving economies of touch.

The destruction of the binary of real vs. performed.
Th. sang with a chorus asking “how do we find a truer state of being without being murderers or liars?”
How is the ghetto constructed, and how do we define ourself in relation to it?

God is the all-seeing eye.
S. presented her surveys of the neighbors of Mess Hall regarding the surveillance camera strobe? (Highlight for me was the one that said the strobe was supposed to make it look like the police were doing something, when nothing was in fact being done.)
Is the neighborhood watch “friendly” surveillance? As “opposed” to camera as pseudo-community?
The Quaker lives a tangible, rooted (not mystical) life.
Can I get the feed? Who has the right to see the data? Where does it go? How can we approach this without adding additional layers of surveillance to surveillance, without adding to the paranoia?
How deep is the problematic of surveillance? (Does it not go clear to our core- to the very conceptualization of our self, to who “I” am?)
We self-surveill, self-govern (Foucault).

What sort of embodied resistances can we inhabit? (And resistance seems too reactionary a word, in my opinion.) How can we live day-to-day? What other modes exist, beyond? Can we expand the holes, rather than directly resist? How can I walk out the door, right here, right now, beyond surveillance? (I was wishing for an easy utopic solution. *sigh*)