Yahoo Seminar Series: A Heap of Broken Images: Cameras as Screen Between our Public and Private Selves


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  • Speaker: Lawerence Liang, U-M Hughes Fellow
  • Host Department: india
  • Date: 03/26/2014
  • Time: 12:00PM

  • Location: Ehrlicher Room, North Quad 3100

  • Description:

    The emergence of photography and film as ‘new media’ at the turn of the 19th century unsettled the ontological stability of visual arts. A century later we see a similar destabilizing of film with the emergence of a wide range of visual practices enabled by digital technology. As image making technologies proliferate from mobile phones and cheap digital cameras to surveillance videos the question of what constitutes a moving image regains significance. My focus in this paper will be regime of images produced by the hidden camera. The two key sites where we see the formation of a discourse of the hidden camera has been in the Sting Operation and its  revelation of public corruption and leaked videos of private sexual intercourse. These have been the two important signposts of contemporary media life, and they have also been at the heart of  debates over privacy, media ethics and legal disorder. While film theory has always been concerned with  the ontological condition of the camera, there is an urgent need to reexamine the relationship between film studies and the incipient world of the moving image.This talk will examine the philosophical consequences of the world of hidden cameras and  ask what it means to think of our public and private selves and their mediation by the camera.

    Lawrence Liang is a founder of the Alternative Law Forum in Bangalore. Lawrence works on the intersection of law, technology and culture. He is currently finishing a book on Law, Justice and cinema and is the author of The Public is Watching: Sex, laws and videotape as well as A guide to Open content licenses.