Criminal justice operates as it does, still with so many medieval cruelties, because those who administer it never do feel it. It’s easy to institutionalise pain – whether physical or mental – when you don’t have to suffer the effects of the tools and means you use to control others.
Similarly, surveillance serves to define a reality: a reality of citizenship without recourse to intellectual – even simple factual – redress. For all you know, your life may have panned out as it dismally has because someone a long time ago secretly asserted something about you to the authorities – quite incorrect, but nevertheless accepted by that state; and so finally their version of your truth.
Defining version of all truth, too.
I am clearly fascinated by the injustices of criminal justice systems. Also, with surveillance’s silent, stealthy impact on the nature of our lived experiences. But where do my recent experiments with Google’s augmented reality (AR) tech fit in with all of the above?
If we want to change criminal justice and the oppressive nature of much of latterday surveillance in our democracies, we must learn to show people exactly how it feels. Only when the hot iron of torture – or, indeed, the long days of enclosure in rooms with toilets overflowing, walls damp with maintenance programmes abandoned as a result of cuts, electricity cables bare to the point of personal hazard, the smell of urine and unexercised bodies, the frustration of lives without compassionate sexual expression – well … only then will distant policymakers realise the degree of violence and abuse to real human beings which their client states are sustaining and publicly justifying.
So if all my vids seem a tad left-field for a serious academia to be involved in, just think what a serious academia has – over the past four centuries – allowed into being.
And then think again what we really might do to remedy it.