Surveillance Theme

Friday, January 30th, 2015


TMZ’s “Icy Encounter” video of Taylor Swift and Harry Styles running into one another at their hotel came out a few weeks ago, pretty much coinciding with the radio debut of her latest hit single, “Style” – which allegedly is named after him. Even before I heard it was about their relationship, the song bothered me because its core message seems to be that their irresistible desire for one another is born of their timeless fashion sense: him with a James Dean look, her with a red-lip, classic look. These looks aren’t really timeless, they’re more like… what’s currently being sold at Top Shop, and the thought of people who buy this kind of clothing imagining their own love lives through the Taylor Swift Narrative just kind of depressed me.  Anyway, with the added tabloid context, “we never go out of style” felt even more disingenuous, as the song actually comes from the first album of Taylor’s country to pop re-brand, and Harry is basically at the precise moment in his career where a reinvented style is what he needs to stay relevant.  My questions: Was the video staged? Did Taylor release the song to help Harry stay popular? Which Haim sister is the most fun? Let’s stay tuned.

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It seems like people are using a “spy” aesthetic in their Instagram posts more frequently these days – like when a picture is grainy from being shot at a distance and zooming in. Is this trend at all related to some heightened awareness of the “surveillance state”? Do people want to exert their autonomy as agents of surveillance? I think there is definitely a feeling of power tied to taking a photo of someone without their knowing and then posting it as your own. I’m trying to be morally opposed, but I can’t stop taking these kinds of pictures.

Here are some of my friend Aidan’s surveillance selfies:


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I read an article about how the Millennial compulsion to constantly share life updates on social media is basically a dream come true for data mining. It was talking about how the right to privacy is slipping away, and how our generation in particular needs protection. It was written in 2012, so we’re obviously worse off now, but let me know if you want a copy of the PDF.

I’ve been meaning to change my browser from Chrome to Firefox


Remember Ello?  I thought people’s eagerness to get on board indicated a desire for change, and willingness to emigrate from Facebook. Other than how shitty Ello is, I wonder what went wrong. No offence, but I think part of the problem was a lack of bravery and creativity on the part of the “users.” At least half of the posts in my newsfeed are variations of “What am I supposed to post here?” I still look at Ello sometimes. I don’t even know why, really. But my friends Al and Dan still use it and I think that’s cool of them.


One last thing I want to bring up, but am not really well-versed-in enough to explain or even form a full opinion around is CSE’s Levitation project. All I’ll say for now is that the powerpoint was shockingly ugly….




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