The structure of modern life, Carey has said, is that we are being watched. And that we are watching.
Lately, I have been watching Cascade Mountain and a few of the buildings at the Banff Centre via the centre's cool webcam. I check it out in the morning, I guess, to try to simulate the thrill of getting that first view of the mountains when actually lucky enough to be in the Rockies—and disciplined enough to get up early. Occasionally, I use it as a momentary emotional escape hatch out of an office tower meeting pushing an hour that should have been 30 minutes. You get the picture.
|Laundry out there|
I don't know what the purpose is of having all these internal screens running, but it seems somehow important to remember there are many video rooms in this big mansion. Webcams help with this further-out work.
And see that where once there was no truck:
Moments later, there is:
Where the view one second is of a veil of grey:
A few minutes later it is pierced by hints of hopeful blue:
Other times, other smudgy contingencies, like a piece of snow or ice on the lens, make for newness:
Further out to the "exotic," yes, but also further in to the familiar.
James Joyce's Ulysses, Lefebvre has said, was a "momentous eruption of everyday life into literature," later finessing the point by saying "it might, however, be more exact to say that readers were suddenly made aware of everyday life through the medium of literature or the written word." In his article, Webcams, Surveillance & Everyday Life, Wise suggests this is precisely what is happening with webcams.
There are deeper depths to plumb when thinking about webcams and what they involve the viewer in. One question for me is to what extent I am being viewed (by myself?) as I gaze at Cascade Mountain? Another is whether I am mistaken by feeling I have somehow gotten away from the grids and arithmetic and garishness of the rational city by slipping into the Rockies via this computerized portal?
Refreshing to think about, though.