I don’t need to spend paragraphs explaining the state of digital surveillance most of us have become resigned to here in 2020. I turn that over to the twitter stream of Chris Gilliard (where you do get the occasional reprieve of a pupdate).

A thing that gives me some small solace is making digital art, ds106 style. It may not really achieve anything (as the 2016 issue of El Orange Chupacabra demonstrated) but it’s my own good medicine.

In thinking about the fiasco playing out in reality of an Orwellian like Rise of the Proctoring Giants (get in now for a slice of a $26 billion dollar buffet), the other day an image of “Big Brother is Watching You” filtered through the brain. That tickling urge to make something resulted today in this

Big Brother is Proctoring YOU!

I riffed this from a book cover found on Behance by Harry Shou (gulp, I just saw that it was ND, oh well, falling on the blade of parody and dying). This was done by some usual Photoshop work of guessing at font matches (I used Helvetica Nue) and tossing in a wee Proctorio icon, masking and clone brushing too.

But then I thought… this sounds like something that should be in the almost 10 year old DS106 Assignment Bank. It’s been years since I was at the bank. I was dismayed to see a raft of cruft submitted from some roaches trying to fish to commercial sites. I cleaned a few of the scum from the top. When I taught ds106 (now like 6+ years ago) I was diligent at keeping an eye on it, but oh well.

But there, submitted for my own approval is a new assignment, Surveil You!

You read 1984 in school but 2020 is a whole new novel. With already a vast machinery of advertisement driven technology in place, where your searches for shoe brands show up in hours as ads in your instagram feed (and this is maybe the benign sign of your online habits being harvested, collected, and sold), what happens when you toss a mere pandemic on top?

It’s surveillance to the max when we are now spending even more of our social, work, and educational time in online spaces. Have no doubt, you are tracked. What can you do? Montana is sold out of off the grid shacks.

Make art. Shine a light on the practices, mock it, parody it, put it put there. Art is our last stand of expression. So make art about life under surveillance. And share it. 

It’s hardly a creative assignment, it just says “make something.” But that’s how ds106 goes, right?

I had something that belongs too as a response, made a few weeks ago. This sprung to mind when Brenna Clarke Gray tweeted an announcement by Turnitin that referred to themselves as a “family”

My associative mind went to an old TV show about a lovely, normal family.

So off I went to Photoshop and a wee bit of rewriting of the lyrics

Does making sarcastic art about wrongs in society mean anything? One guy has a big reach.

But there is more you can do. Hell yeah. Be part of the Dec 1 teach-in

You may not feel like you can do anything, but you can. Small acts, communication of resistance, cannot help but create some ripples, maybe waves.

Or just #makeartdamnit as the old saying goes.

Now let’s see if I remember how to tag ds106 assignments!

Featured Image:

Just Say #NO to Surveillance
Just Say #NO to Surveillance flickr photo by cogdogblog shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

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An early 90s builder of web stuff and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person. And he is 100% into the Fediverse (or tells himself so) Tooting as @cogdog@cosocial.ca

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