Surveillant Architectures

Developing paradigms in media culture. This blog is collaboratively edited by the Surveillant Architectures Group.

what surveillance does to you

The effects of surveillance to personal liberty nicely explained: In English und auch auf deutsch.

During the war, Freud lectured on “The Censorship of Dreams” in early December 1915. Around that time, he inserted a new body of text into The Interpretation of Dreams, mapping wartime dream censorship directly onto wartime postal censorship:

Frau Dr. H. von Hug-Hellmuth (1915) has recorded a dream which is perhaps better fitted than any to justify my choice of nomenclature [for censorship]. In this example the dream-distortion adopted the same methods as the postal censorship for expunging passages which were objectionable to it. The postal censorship makes such passages unreadable by blacking them out; the dream censorship replaced them by an incomprehensible mumble.”

A fragment here: A 50-year-old “cultivated and highly esteemed lady” had (in her dream) gone to Garrison Hospital No. 1 saying that she wanted to volunteer for “service” meaning (as was evident to everyone in earshot): “love service” (Liebesdienste). To the sentry she announced, “I and many other women and girls in Vienna are ready to [mumble, mumble].” Yet everyone in the dream understood her. One of the officers: “Suppose, madam, it actually came to…(mumble).” Or later, the dreamer: “It must never happen that an elderly woman…(mumble)…a mere boy. That would be terrible.” As she walked up the staircase she heard an officer comment: “That’s a tremendous decision to make – no matter whether a woman’s young or old! Splendid of her!”

that was The Future, winter term 2013/14

I look forward to the next term! Christian

the strange now, future possibilities

some student web projects

Alissa & Lena


dolu drawing

send me more, and I’ll add them here!

how to destroy your computer according to the secret service

What is this, a symbolic action? A ritual? Will it catch on?










the futurist journal

I just found this journal:, I think could be interesting for people in our seminar. Sadly, the full articles are not available on the internet. The issue No. 35 is about doomsday scenarios and so on, maybe cool stuff?

Arresting Blair

Brilliant, someone just made the 5th attempt to do a citizen’s arrest of Tony Blair, on grounds of crimes against humanity.

Friedrich Kittler 1986 über die NSA

Friedrich Kittler in einem Taz-Artikel von 1986 über die Rolle der NSA bei der Entwicklung des Computers.

Privacy and Surveillance Conference, UC Berkeley

The conference is hosted by the Data and Democracy Initiative at University of California at Berkeley.  Do let me know if you would like your work included as part of the dialogue.

Event: Pan Optics: Perspectives on Digital Privacy & Surveillance
March 6, 2014 11am-4:30pm
Banatao Auditorium, Sutardja Dai Hall

Presented by CITRIS, CITRIS Data & Democracy Initiative, UC Davis Research Initiative in Digital Cultures

“Recent disclosures about the NSA’s international and domestic surveillance activities have stimulated overdue policy discussions among politicians and outrage among activists. The revelations have also suggested a need to address issues of privacy and surveillance on a broader level across a range of disciplines.

As a pervasive practice employed by governments, corporations, and individuals, routine data collection and ubiquitous camera technology are shifting boundaries and cultural expectations about what should and should not be shared. This symposium will bring together scholars and practitioners from a range of disciplines to discuss privacy protections, surveillance methods, and modes of resistance in a digital age.”

meanwhile, deep in the uncanny valley…

Freakishly realistic telemarketing robots are denying they’re robots

Recently, Time Washington Bureau Chief Michael Scherer received a phone call from an apparently bright and engaging woman asking him if he wanted a deal on his health insurance. But he soon got the feeling something wasn’t quite right.

After asking the telemarketer point blank if she was a real person or a computer-operated robot, she chuckled charmingly and insisted she was real. Looking to press the issue, Scherer asked her a series of questions, which she promptly failed. Such as, “What vegetable is found in tomato soup?” To which she responded by saying she didn’t understand the question. When asked what day of the week it was yesterday, she complained of a bad connection (ah, the oldest trick in the book).

Here, listen for yourself:

Several Time reporters called her back.

Her name, she said, was “Samantha West.” More from Time:

If you want, you can call her too. Her number is (484) 589-5611. This number, if you Google it, is the subject of much discussion online as other recipients of Samantha West calls complain on chat boards about the mysteriously persistent lady who keeps calling them. “A friendly sounded woman on the other end claimed I requested health insurance information,” writes one mark. “She doggedly refused to deviate from her script.”

Let’s call her next time we do the seminar!

T.C. Boyle on surveillance:

While we slept, machines have taken over the world, just as those old science fiction movies predicted.

I was quite struck by this, and it took me some time to figure out why. Now I think it’s because deep down I feel he’s actually right.

This is from him explaining why he signed the „Writers Against Mass Surveillance“ appeal released today. (My translation)

The appeal is now open to be signed from you, too.