By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
What was once considered pathological is common behavior in the age of SPY-TV. "It is neither a question of secrecy nor of perversion," the French critic Jean Baudrillard writes in Simulations, "but a kind of thrill of the real, or one of an aesthetics of the hyperreal, a thrill of alienation and of magnification, of distortion in scale, of excessive transparency, all at the same time." In other words, the omnivideo environment is producing a radical cultural response.
Spycam chic allows us to revel in the invasion of cameras not to mention the deployment of thermal sensors, parabolic mics, Internet "cookies," laser probes: all the dark technics of the information age. Stylization dispels the anxiety that mass monitoring arouses; it provides an aura of power and mastery in an uncontrollable world. But this feeling is a fleeting high. When the show ends, the gaze remains and the surveillance society is humanized.
Next Week: Madison Avenue Is Watching You
This is the second of a three-part series.