1. Randall Packer

    Giving up Your Data

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    I live in Washington, DC, the nation’s capital, where I refer to my studio as my underground studio bunker. I take a certain pride in the private nature of my space, though perilously close to the high-surveillance residence just a few blocks down the street where the Vice-President of the United States lives at the Naval Observatory. And yet, my house is in full view of anyone and everyone. Not just my house, but my car as well, parked in front. In the 21st century era of Google Street View and its stealth-mapping capabilities, nothing is private. All you need is someone’s physical address, and that takes very little investigation on the Net. Probe deeper into Google Maps and you discover there is a wealth of information about my residence that has been assembled for the world to see. The notion that you could live a secret life under the radar is a thing of the past. The possibility of seeking out an anonymous log cabin a la the unabomber would be fruitless in today’s mediascape where Google cameras are roaming the streets tracking, mapping, and surveilling everything in their path. Atop the Google Street view vehicle is a special multi-camera that snaps photographs from all angles and stores them into a database that staggers the imagination. Essentially, Google’s mission is to map every square inch of the world: systematically and repeatedly. Returning to my small plot of land in the Google Universe, you can continue to probe into the […]
  2. Randall Packer

    Media Transformations

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    Today’s world is largely made up of pixels. There is no denying it. As everything shifts from analog to digital, we essentially are moving from continuous waves to discreet numbers. That is the world we are becoming: an algorithmic arrangement of zeros and ones. As we communicate and transfer media across the network, the minutia of information is circulating endlessly in the system. We too, in our distributed presence, are broken down as data and reassembled as well. How will this come to reshape our thinking, our self-image, the meaning of who we are in the world? Created by Casey Reas The manipulation of data, so pervasive in everything from glitch art to everyday media tasks, raises the question of whether or not our identities are being resorted in these media transformations. If information is as fluid and transportable as the launch of a photo attachment or the playback of a video, then what is happening to our sense of place and situation in time as we transmit and navigate through the third space. Why, in fact, are we so fascinated by electronic disturbances? Why are we hypnotized by static and pixels and other digital debris floating across our screens and through the synapses of our brains? There is something alluring about the desintegration of information particles. It is as though we are peering through a microscope, not at the invisible paramecium and amoebas found on lab slides, rather, the content of an emerging universe of digital life that we […]
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