Films: Low Definition Control—Malfunctions #0

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Low Definition Control—Malfunctions #0

Low Definition Control—Malfunctions #0

Austria, 2011, 95 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Crime, Documentary, Technology/Science
Program: Documentary Films
Language: German, English English Subtitles

DIRECTOR: Michael Palm
Producer: Johannes Hammel
Editor: Michael Palm
Screenwriter: Michael Palm
Cinematographer: Michael Palm
Principal Cast: 

We are all potential criminals, according to the voices discussing the modern surveillance state over the voyeuristic images of random street activity that make up most of Michael Palm’s documentary. Grainy black-and-white shots of the subway, blurred figures in apartment windows, and pedestrians coming and going become somehow ominous as the scientists and media experts who provide commentary declare that our era of technology is worse than George Orwell’s 1984: we are watched by a thousand little sisters instead of one big brother.

Palm shows a world where facial recognition, pattern detection, and grid programs analyze our every move—where we give police and government authorities ever-increasing access with little thought to how the massive quantities of stored images are used. Criminal activity is determined by computer programs interpreting movements and patterns captured by unblinking cameras and rendered into digital code.

Low Definition Control forces us to consider the implications of relinquishing our privacy and anonymity in the name of safety and control. Reality becomes what is videotaped; human interaction and motives are disregarded in favor of data. The idea of the image as a form of communication becomes a tool used against the formation of new ideas.

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