Wednesday, March 14, 2007
These are images taken at the North Star Bar on March 8, 2007. The event consisted of 9 competitors using the programs on their laptops to improvise continuous sets of electronic music. The pictures were taken with a phone camera in low-light conditions.
Following monkeys as they chase eachother around their habitat is rather difficult. While these images lack the intrigue of other followings due to the fact that the monkeys couldn't figure out that they were being photographed, they do comment on the nature of following. The goal of following is to remain covert - to steal someone's image without their knowing it. These monkeys live their lives as a spectacle meant to be followed by zoo visitors. As these two monkeys frantically chased eachother around their plastic jungle, I realized that their entire life consists of following eachother and being followed by members of a world that they cannot understand or access. Caged animals such as these monkeys are presented with a world based on following. They follow eachother and they follow the humans who walk across their window space. The point that I'm trying to make is that the act of following seems to be a manifestation of natural curiousity. It is a way to learn movements and behaviours that transcends the educated few and extends into the context of the natural world.
The goal of this following was to capture the girl's image at close proximity without her knowing. In the first following, the target's back is to the camera. In the second one, the targets are at a far enough distance that they would have no reasonable expectation that their picture was being taken. In this third section, The target is facing me from a distance of no more than three feet away (across the dinner table at a BatMitzvah.) In this case, the secrecy of the following relies on the technology of a camera phone. Although I am essentially spying on this girl and taking her picture without her knowledge, she has no reason to believe that this is the case. I am playing with my phone, just as she is. If I had a conventional camera, she would be aware of the fact that her picture was being taken, especially from such close range. Survellance technology is designed to remain covert. We can be followed intimately without our knowledge.
This second example of following involves the photographer (me) following two situations. The scene takes place in a restaurant. The couple to the left of me is arguing, unaware that their picture is being taken by the boy who is seemingly just playing with his phone. The second pictures is a photo of the hostess, who is staring at the arguing couple, clearly intrigued by their heated discussion. There are two types of following going on. The photo of the couple describes my own following through eaves-dropping, while the photo of the hostess describes my following of a follower, bringing to light the notion that as observers, we may ourselves be observed. The actions of a follower can also be followed.
This first picture in the following series is a following of motion. As the follower and photographer, I needed to maintain the quick pace of the walker, essentially becoming a reproduction of the movement located five feet behind the subject. To physically follow somebody creates a tense situation in which the follower must be simultaneously aware of their target's movement as well as their own.