1. Document a contentious public event with a mobile device
I went down to occupy wall street, and documented some of the goings on there. I avoided videotaping the police, and wanted to focus on the interesting people there and the events. I was able to ask a friend why they came down that evening. I watched the routine of eating and washing dishes, and keeping things clean. This is an orderly camp, with digital and organic amenities like internet/computer hubs and makeshift kitchens. The area is very open even though it is so crowded. The people was varied and the mood was excited. It was a very positive vibe.

 

I appreciated the message of Deepak Chopra, that the movement should come from a place of love and compassion for their fellow human, that anger could get them so far and that love ultimately would save the day.  The general assembly was something to experience.  For me, it was an entirely new way to participate in a group and to have intimate comprehension with the words of another person. Although slow, it was powerful. And when things were decided through it, it was very exciting.
[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/30090465[/vimeo]
They talked about being respectful of the people in the surrounding neighborhood and deciding how to spend the small amount of money they have received from donations on food and shelter. The grounds were very organized and

 

again i cannot stress this enough, it was a very happy place. I encourage everyone to go down and have conversations with people there. The police presence was reasonable, and trouble free. I still found it hard to ask people there to be filmed and questioned, but that was more my apprehension than any mood they exuded. I need to improve my interviewing nerve.
One other thing about the site, there are major fears of being co-opted much like the tea party was by stronger interests. The union march Oct 5th, although helpful, is some pressure to align with more traditional liberal institutions. It will be interesting to see what happens to the space after this event. I hope they serve as an inspiration point for these other groups and are not usurped by them. #Occupy is an experiment worth leaving alone.
     2 .Design a mobile media (audio/photo/video) app that addresses the issue of consent/intent, privacy, identity, anonymity or other concept related to human rights and activism

 

I am lucky to own a rebel 2ti camera and it’s large CMOS sensor. Being that it is my prized possession, i was reluctant to bring it down to document occupy wall street  because i had no idea what kind of situation i was entering. That was a big mistake. The camera’s low light abilities and excellent microphone would have come in handy down there. But DSLR cameras are bulky, and it can be difficult to be quick and unassuming. the image view finder is also a problem;  in order to control the image, you must have the large bodied camera up to your face.

 

I tested out ways to make my mobile phone both a video capture and broadcast device. One app, the IP webcam, worked amazingly when i controlled port forwarding abilities and the router of my home network. I broadcasted video and audio via javascript and java, and image captures that can autorefresh. It even allows you to autofocus the camera, all through a web utility. So if you have an old android phone, you have the ability to have a wireless webcam that you can turn on remotely and have it be password protected.  Trying my device over my mobile network did not work, to no surprise. Over the mobile network, i dont have access to port openings or anything that points to the app through a web protocol. A possible idea is a man in the middle (proxy) on the web for us, not them.  A proxy that just doesnt hide your identity a la Tor, but one that gives port forwarding abilities to your phone, making your phone into a router and hence a wireless webcam using telecom mobile broadband.
I want to think more about the issue of information broadcast in a small space like the park. The human microphone is a novel idea, but soon, speakers will need to express complex ideas in an easier manner. I would like to research more about how those directional speaker systems work, the ones that have been developed by the military to break up crowds. 

 

There was also this interesting example of directional speakers used by an ad campaign:
The advertising and marketing campaign for Paranormal State broke new ground. In November 2007, a six-story billboard was erected at the corner of Prince and Mulberry Streets in New York City by BlueBlastMedia. Behind the billboard were two directional audio (or audioSpotlights) which produce a highly focused beam of sound. Passers-by who walked directly in the path of the sound would hear spooky, disembodied voices whispering suggestive messages such as “What’s that?” and “Who’s there? It’s not your imagination.” But someone standing next to that person would hear nothing. The billboard had a dramatic effect on people coming within range of the “cone of sound” created by the directional audio speakers. The billboard was apparently the first commercial use of the technology on a billboard.[29] A video of the installation can be seen here.[30]

 

Could there be a way to recreate this tech DIY?  Another possibility is to leverage the use of smart devices and computers available at the site. Create a local podcast audio stream for people to listen to. There would be a delay, but the information could be understood more easily. I hope that any measure that comes through does not replace the human microphone in entirety. It needs to stay. It offers speakers to create and abstract of their speech in order to insure comprehension and it does help in processing the information. There is some educational aspect to saying the words I am not realizing.