#peopleonphonesinpublicorprivate: getting caught

last week, i was watched on the train. there was a family (sounded like they were speaking brazilian portugese. they were standing. everyone else was sitting. everyone one else was on a cell phone. the family chuckled to themselves.

it was a strange feeling. something like annoyance. maybe anger. i felt my belly glow warm. the roller coaster falling sensation. guilt?

and then irk and annoyance. “i’m the one who does the catching! i even have a hashtag for this!”

and yet, here i was. caught. i, too, am in the river.

we’re all the same. aren’t we?

i catch. not get caught.

so then this brings up the ethic of capturing these photos in the first place. how much of what i felt in that moment was about getting caught versus being the catcher getting caught? and what do other people i capture in these moments feel if they realize they are caught?

and what the difference between the realization happening in the moment versus later? if you find yourself on a gallery wall, is that more or less feeling?

what happens if they never realize they were caught?

in a way, this is like a double-surveilling. someone is watching or looking at content on a phone and i’m looking at them. but then i guess the internet overlords are also watching them, usually in ways that are less obvious. so i guess it’s really a triple surveille.

one way i might take this idea into installation space is a huge screen of videos where people are on their phones. the piece would be set up like one of those old security rooms like in the movies. you as the viewer would hopefully feel what it must be like to be an internet company (google) with unbelievable access to individual humans’ most granular movements.


words / writing / post-processing
305w / 11min / 7min