THE PARTY LAB
CENTER FOR NON-AMORAL SURVEILLANCE"
Every show, every gathering of people, is rich with secret qualities
beyond the exact reasons to attend. The unconscious groupings of friends,
the pile of homogenous garbage, the skronk of feet for hours up and down
the stairs, how many times the word ‘fuck’ is uttered, The
screaming, etc. The crevasses of the Silent Barn are privy to an incessant
wash of human sounds, which are impressive in their totality, if they
are not just maddening. Its hard to appreciate this when simply attending
an event, due to our localized sensory apparatuses. One wanders about
the space, influencing as one is influenced, a spot in motion amongst
But what if space was collapsed? What if your ears could float above
the space, jump from corner to corner to outside, gaining an inkling
of the totality? It would at the very least be mesmerizing in a human-animal
sort of way. Would you be able to tell if a party was “good” or “raging” by
an appreciation of the contours of the din? This project is our attempt
at utilizing or experiencing these usually throwaway details.
This system is set up to exploit the fecund craziness of a house show
or house party. It is not a spy platform, and the set-up is not streamlined
to gain any specific signal amongst the noise. The qualities of the dynamic
microphones, their sheer overloaded spatial arraignment, and the sensibilities
of the house environment ensure that the recordings will only be of psychedelic
use, and not exploitative. This is the non-amoral aspect. Not moral,
but assuredly not amoral. We’re not watching “you”;
we’re watching “it”.
People are right to view surveillance with a level of emotional suspicion,
as it is an invasion of information privacy at any level. By making us
simultaneously aware of our effect on, and place in, the world, our recorded
actions shine with new terrifying significance. We have our life, and
then we have an “information life” made up of what details
we generate by moving through the hyper-technological world. The creepiness
of being watched is, in this modern way, magnified by technology to an
almost impossible level. It is, at the end of the day, an existentially
frightening degree of exposure. If we consent to the use of our image
by simply entering an area, what’s to stop a malevolent entity
from stealing our life, our digital soul? What if by going to a show
to see a band you like, you wound up in a commercial for shoes in Japan?
Are you ok with that?
It’s the use of the throwaway details of human life that makes
surveillance moral or amoral, Wed love a stranger to watch us to “keep
us safe” but if he zooms in too much its crossed the line. The
moral use of this party recording apparatus is firmly on the “fun” side
of reasons to commit surveillance. These reasons include generating content
for musical samples, recording a night of musical performances, or the
generation of urban white noise. The Eternal Party Noise of a city.
In short, This System is another way to experience a show in the house,
an already wild thing. The Silent Barn is an example of a non-differentiated
social space, where work, personal life, and community are collapsed
into one. We are all already surveyed by living here and attending here,
as we are all personally surveyed everyday as we endlessly socially network
our lives, building our information lives to a richness akin to our physical
face-time social lives. If you invite the world in, at what point is
it all the way in?
-G. Lucas Crane