This project is the last part of a five-part series, each containing prototypes for my thesis at Parsons.
The series is called 5-in-5, which means that I do 5 projects in 5 days (one each day).
The constraint is that I have to conceptualize, prototype, and document in the same day.
This is the fifth and final day of my 5-in-5 project. Today, I am exposing myself to the citizens of New York City. I will be working with my laptop on at different locations around the city, and my webcam would be recording my activity along with what it sees in front of it. So, if someone looks at my screen when I'm working, I'll know. At the end of the day, I plan to make an assessment of this experiment and share my findings.
Through the project, I aim to get a perspective on privacy invasion, when done unintentionally and in solitary (when someone is not looking).
Early during the day, I realized that I will have a constraint to use my PC instead of the phone to secretly record my surroundings. That's because iOS devices do not allow recordings in the background, and do not allow screen and camera recording at the same time. This restricted me to sit at public places with close settings, and have people go around me. Also, as I was traveling in the bus, I couldn't get a good camera angle of my surroundings. So, even if people did look at my screen, it was hard to tell from the recorded videos.
I picked 3 spots for video recording today: (10 am) a local coffee shop in downtown Manhattan (Irwing Farm), (11 am) a morning bus ride from Lower East Side to Union Square Station (M14A-SBS), and (7 pm) an evening bus ride back from Union Square Station to Delancey Station (M14A-SBS).
To entice my view, I was playing an episode of Friends in the bus, reading graphic intensive articles in the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, watching videos on YouTube, reading through my personal and business emails, and reading books on Bookshout.
I noticed that the crowd was different in all three setups, and the interactivity was limited. People were primarily on their devices or engaged in their personal work, not looking much on my screen. There were some quick glances on the screen, but nothing that prolonged more than a second. Since it was a Sunday today, and the places were not as private and closed, people were mostly engaged in their work. Nevertheless, it's incorrect to assume that people tend to invade each others' privacy when given an open space to engage.
Note: I have attached a timelapse of my recordings, but have blurred the videos to value the privacy of people.
There were two main parts to this project:
1. Conceptualize: Extending the idea of privacy invasion from yesterday, I decided to expose my personal life, email correspondences, web logins, views, etc on a public WiFi, while navigating through New York City.
2. Analysis: I documented by observations during the test experience throughout the day.