Posts tagged “breaching experiment”

People Watching 3.0

In a previous post I wrote about Losing All Hope Was Freedom, a series of social experiments on video, where the “performer” takes the hands of strangers.

Now comes Surveillance Camera Man, who does nothing more than take video in places where you don’t expect to be recorded. Perhaps part of his point is that we are semi-surreptitiously recorded in all of those same places but we ignore it, and when it’s made explicit by a dude standing in front of you with a device, then it becomes wrong.

But there’s some other things happening here besides social commentary/activism. Michael Moore and Borat have created familiar entertainment forms around the unwanted and uncomfortable intruder. Watch the video below (which is at times almost anthropological, exploring context after context – including one heartbreaking example) and see if you don’t start to root for the cameraman. We become co-opted into voyeurism, curiously wondering who those people are or what’s in that room. I’m sure there’s some film theory bit that would explain why the POV shot is so easy to empathize with, regardless of how we would feel if we were in the viewfinder ourselves.

Updated: videos now here

I’ll tell you something I think you’ll understand

Losing All Hope Was Freedom (or LAHWF) is a project (with an associated YouTube channel) devoted to breaching experiments (“an experiment that seeks to examine people’s reactions to violations of commonly accepted social rules or norm”). It takes a certain bravery to engage in these experiments, say going into an elevator and facing the back wall, to see what others will do. It also hopefully requires some ethical examination; some of these experiments come off more as pranks and can disturb people (honestly, I’m not impressed with Improv Everywhere because they needlessly perturb strangers for our bemusement).

With that in mind, here are their two latest videos, where they sneak up on people and casually take their hands. Compare the experimenter and the environment between the first and second video, and look at your own reactions to the reactions they gather. The second one, for sure, is worth watching all the way through.

Series

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