Digital Zoom Spying

The work tackles mass surveillance and data collection at an early stage of the phenomenon and with a usage of old technology. The film produced in 2010 using a consumer level camera - a personal Panasonic NV-DS60 Mini-DV camcorder and its 500X digital zoom at its maximum.

The project asks important questions from a technological point of view about why such technology as digital zoom is implemented in consumer-level cameras? The hypothesis might be that no one will use such technology just for zooming-in and capturing a pixelated image. However, the issue is twofold. Questions regarding the use of a digital zoom feature bring issues of how by using a digital zoom the user can reach the matter and what is this matter about? The captured digital highly-pixelated image reaches just a surface, the aesthetic level of the scenery in front of a camera and somehow aestheticizes the view in an image adding a pixelated effect. With this technology, there is no reach for a deeper reach and collection of information. No machine learning is involved in the capturing with a camera approach. Using a digital zoom is somehow applying a camouflage to the information – the opposite of the purposes of surveillance, the reduction of data, hiding it from the professional advanced machine learning.

Another approach towards the digital zoom is bringing someone using it for a purpose to hack someone’s private bodily images of a stranger and satisfy voyeuristic desires? But in general, the pixelated image is a type of abstraction which in most cases brings more artistic values and opens imagination than provides solutions for and satisfies simple consumer needs. In this case, digital zoom becomes an artistic tool on a consumer level and everyone can enjoy its usage. But another question is how long such weird technology will stay in the market?

Media archaeologic approach attempts to look back to the old technology and analyse and re-examine it through our recent advances in technology and, in this project, brings issues that the digital zoom somehow helps to hide the data, instead of supporting the processes of surveillance or data collection. The capturing of a highly pixelated image sends the user on a surface of the image, it zooms-in on a surface but not getting details of the targeted object. The pixelated surface somehow adds an effect layer with hiding the details for the surveillance and advanced machine learning technologies, at the same time opening a space up for the imagination to reinterpret the view and reimagine it.

“I use a camera’s digital zoom feature to zoom-in on passers-by to capture their body fragments, also somewhat satisfying the viewers’ imagined voyeuristic desires, but also hiding the details through the extensively pixelated image and partial abstraction.” - says the artist.

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Penetrations into innermost places are welcome and open for everyone. There are no rules in public space to protect naïve and innocent. No tracing techniques are necessary to capture hidden strategy footages. All data in public space is explicit, open for manipulations. Surveillance video material is accessible to everyone and is potentially broadcasted worldwide. All data is open. Share your privacy! Explicit your source! Your personal data is open to anyone you’ve never seen before. Your public portrait and intimate places are exposed in the exhibition, just for a showing beautiful picture or explaining simple tactics: private is no more private in a public space.

Would you accept a proposal to expose your privatescape to anyone's else purpose, anywhere and anytime? Mediated sitescapes with pixelated view captured by ordinary handy cam using digital zoom provides with a veil of secrecy which easily could be redefined into a quality image for somebody’s back and black purposes.

The observer of the project is identified with a kind of deviant: the deviant Mr. Infinity for a new paradigm of our daily creative and daily technological environment with an indulgence in a perverted aesthetic sickness.

Questioning privacy in digital age enters the technological means as a technique to manipulate or even to control people, so the art in the age of surveillance is a type of field with its own political consequences.