Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Switchboard

Jonathan Hatley, Mason Mann, Ollie Hsieh 


With the onset of GDPR and controversies like Cambridge Analytica and Palantir’s ties to the CIA, FBI, and NSA, data privacy has grown in importance and public awareness. Cast in a future with undertones of diminished freedom, Switchboard focuses on the omnipresent nature of uberveillance and the spectrum of existing responses to it, namely a resignation to the overbearing nature of institutional monitoring and, in contrast, sharp pushback and empowerment through taking control of one’s own data. Within this setting, its dwellers scavenge for electrical remains to create secure communication channels, leading to two implications: 

(a) More components indicates a larger number of connection points and thus support of increased functionality as a receiver, dispatcher, or both 

(b) Higher quality components lead to stabler connections and more accurate and intelligible sound 

Both (a) and (b) open opportunities for collaboration and informational exchange, yielding a byproduct of elevated status and ontological security when one has a high number of quality components. Our piece highlights the two distinct roles and the hodge podge, industrial aesthetic that results from scavenging in the remnants of our technological world and its societal collapse.