Sightings is a collection of lo-res digital images captured by a surveillance camera installed in my attic. When I am away, the vigilant sentinel sends dispatches every time it detects any movements, activities, or other anomalies. These urgent notifications encourage me to check the live stream. Between December 20 2018 and January 20 2019, I received approximately two hundred notifications.
A notification generates a feedback loop that has the camera owner promptly verify the veracity of the emergency. In a sense, the camera owner is owned - pwned - by the camera. The phone vibrates, the meatware grabs the glassy rectangle, examines the message, clicks on the link, and scrutinizes the live stream, trying to discern any possible activity in the darkened room. I follow the instructions dutifully, without questioning the prescriptive nature of the ‘nudge’ (a Silicon Valley euphemism for indirect order). I subject myself to all sorts of psychological conditioning, and technological manipulation. I am a willing victim of surveillance capitalism (Shoshana Zuboff). The internet-connected camera has taken full control of my life.