“Artefacture” – Molly Hankwitz interviewed about the New Aesthetic: David Cox: "How much is the NA really about the impact of sensor technology on cities and people? Is it not the look and feel of these technologies on a largely unprepared population?
Molly Hankwitz: James Bridle is talking about emerging, increasingly ubiquitous zones between human and machine. Sensor technology is controversial and misunderstood. Cameras, processors and sensors are built in everywhere these days so they are getting response and he talks about machines actively melding with the city, which is ‘sentience’ an idea which starts to frame urban space in a wireless and augmented world at the point of the interface where the body ends and machine begins. Ubiquitous sensing “makes contact” thus with human subjects. I like his idea of exploring “machine vision” and “machine intelligence” as an urban experience.
In his talk, “Waving at the Machines”, Bridle reflects upon facades, parks, streets. He talks about Street View in particular and the elimination of restricted areas from view; how Paul McCartney’s blocks Google Street View’s access to his house. American citizens may start wanting “privacy settings” for Street View. The idea of making Google’s map an interrogated, non-map is so appealing. Google is so deterministic and totalizing. I think Bridle is talking about the reverse panopticon when he acknowledges control, and also denies its importance. Americans, certainly, hate the idea of losing their privacy, but not all cultures are so concerned. Theoretically, the map/non-map would be loaded with cultures. Look at Germany. You can shut off Street View there.
National/military/industrial “nets” for surveillance seem acceptable when sugar-coated with Google Earth’s “freedom” to “see” but they need to be resisted, and they aren’t just American militarization. SIVE covers the Strait of Gibraltar, northern Africa, and Mediterranean countries."