Senior Lecturer, Department of Geography, University of Helsinki (FI)
Transparent Deviance/Empowering Exhibitionism
My presentation deals with two contemporary phenomena: video surveillance of public urban space and 'the other side of surveillance' i.e. Internet webcams. The amount of visual representations has been multiplied: we have reached the point where cameras can be literally anywhere, viewing a huge range of spaces and activities. I will use four theoretical concepts to discuss the issue. (1) Protective voyeurism is what video surveillance is supposed to be: making the 'deviant' transparent and helping to control them. (2) Empowering exhibitionism relates to privately owned webcams: people 'reclaim the copyrights' of their own lives by controlling their visibility and the distribution of visual images. (3) Banal voyeurism describes how people want to see 'nothing happening': this process is reinforced by the media which encourages people to observe any odd or newsworthy occasions by buying and publishing mobile phone pictures. (4) Fame seeking exhibitionism relates to the popularity of both reality TV and webcams: people dream of being seen, noticed and famous. The condition of 'over-production' and increasing circulation of images creates need for conceptual understanding of the new forms of looking, seeing, presenting and circulating images.