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Subverting the (Nonparticipatory) Panopticon
Emily Gertz, 23 Aug 04

codeck.jpgVideo cameras have become important tools in struggles for justice and expression worldwide, bringing the eyes and ears of the public to places that authorities might prefer undocumented. CoDECK, a project of the Pulse Arts Media Collective, aims to subvert the tools of government surveillance--the nonparticipatory panopticon--by giving people the power to actively share and discuss video-based content, and each other's perspectives, via a central online location.

CoDECK takes its physical form as a circa-1979 Sears Betavision videocassette recorder. The Betavision deck – which used to play tapes recorded using the Betamax format – has been retrofitted to run Linux and functions as the heart of the CoDECK platform; it runs the web server, the video playback system, and the video capture system...From anywhere you have access to a web browser, you can upload and download video and view the discussions.

Pulse Arts is inviting submissions during the upcoming Republican National Convention in New York City, encouraging folks to get out and active with a video camera to record what's happening on the streets, what they think of the convention doings--to spin the media's spin--and then put it up on CoDECK for viewing and discussion.

From Monday August 23 through Friday September 3, the CoDECK itself will be in residence at in the East Village, "...where you can take your activism out of the sweltering heat, sit on a couch with a cold drink, scroll through people’s many points of view and respond…"

CoDECK is just one of many decentralized, distributed technologies that artists and others are putting into play during the week of the RNC.

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The big question with p2p video will be how to find clips and films worth watching.

Will we have a natural extension of link-based metrics like Google or Technorati, so that clips bubble up into public attention once enough people give them a good rating?

That could be part of the answer, but for video there would also be natural axes to search along: time frame, geo location, length, etc. You could then imagine searching for video using a combination of keywords with (say) highlighting desired parts of a 2D time-vs-reputation plot, or selecting a region from a map.

TiVo and similar tech will drive these kinds of search very out TV!

Posted by: Hassan on 25 Aug 04

Excellent point, Hassan.

I just wonder if "intelligent agent" role that an editor or producer has typically played in the media--some great, some awful, and probably most somewhere in the grey middle--is adequately replaced by the reputation and response rating metrics of blogs and search engines.

Posted by: Emily Gertz on 25 Aug 04



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