Jordan Backhus

Physical Computing: Proposal for the Final

Public Measures for the Private Person

For my final, I will explore the modern-day obsession with self-portraiture and, most importantly, video surveillance through portraiture — which exceeds measures of safety to the realms of political espionage and voyeurism.

I imagine making a structural installation using exposed monitors, LCD screens, and/or vintage televisions.

ex. 1)  Figure 5 - Exposed monitor from Gary Hill s piece

ex. 2)  namjunepaik2

ex. 3) Screen Shot 2014-10-23 at 10.33.32 AM

Surveillance cameras will be planted in unnoticeable places all around this arena.

The cameras will relay UNSETTLING and DRAMATIC images: the user and his/her profile,  his/her ear or the nape of their neck, his/her shifting, wandering eyes  in close-up, forehead, or scalp, his/her crotch area, his/her peers interacting with the space around the room.





The installation arena will be BARREN; a blank, raw space is the only proper way to view these untainted images. The experience will be unfiltered and, indubitably, uncomfortable for the user. It will be raw and unavoidable: the user must accept his/her portrait, the inevitability that no matter what he/she does… he or she will be watched.

One thought on “Physical Computing: Proposal for the Final”

  1. Thanks Jordan, I appreciate all of your project ideas, which have all been quite provocative yet ambiguous, and encourage us to really think about the places and technologies we inhabit. Regarding your concept, I’m intrigued by the notion of juxtaposing the “selfie” with that of “surveillance.” That said, the two modes of image-taking have very different social implications, so it might be even more effective to take the juxtaposition even further, into the social sphere– for instance, what if the imagery from your installation was posted on Instagram? Or sent to actual security staff or systems?

    If you use exposed or reconstituted CRTs, be very careful in discharging high voltage before you modify them further. To find used monitors, I would first check to see what you can borrow from Tisch Film/TV, and then all the used parts shops (Goodwill, etc) as well as salvage stores like Build-It-Green and Film Biz Recycling.

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