Wednesday is a project that documents, surveys, and reveals my perceived reality. With a psychological, philosophical, and anthropological framework, this piece reveals the intricacies of everyday life, and the surveillance that takes place around us. In an effort to subvert the current system of surveillance, I have strapped a camera to my body that captures an image every 60 seconds for 2 hours on Wednesday and repeated this for 6 weeks consecutively. By using this system, the camera becomes a metaphor of the eye and a bigger subversive mechanism and tool of self-surveillance. The data collected becomes my “perceived reality,” as drawn from the writings of Plato in The Allegory of The Cave, where prisoners were chained together in a cave only to look at the wall in front of them. The shadows that they saw being cast upon the wall became the only reality that they experienced. This wasn’t an accurate depiction of “reality,” but it was their experience nonetheless, which directly relates to the data I collect, the vantage I collect it from, and the “cave” or perhaps reality I construct from it. The birth of mass surveillance in the US is directly related and correlated to the involvement in war and violence. This is supported by movies and television shows that reveal or predict systems in which we are being watched. For instance, The Truman Show, which stars Truman Burbank (Jim Carrey) in 1968 who lives his whole life in a simulated world with paid actors, and on a set that he’s never stepped foot out of. His life is broadcasted with hidden cameras for the world to see from the day he was born until the day he finds out and escapes, breaking the theatrical fourth wall and addressing his fans and viewers directly. I believe the writers and directors of The Truman Show were prophetic about the vantage of 1968, the ubiquity of reality television and the rise of mass surveillance. This keyed in perfectly to my parents generation of Cold War paranoia of being watched or bugged; and my own generation of narcissism, where it bugs us to not be watched. This project poses two questions: How does surveillance, archiving, documenting, and indexing, inform my perceived reality? To what extent are the presentation of these elements, both digital and physical a comment on the very social zeitgeist I am engaging in?  In the Allegory of The Cave, Plato describes an experience of first-person perceived reality. This notion that what we see in front of us is only a version of reality. We use the term “perceived reality” because of the illusion that is created. The images that the prisoners saw, much like the images you see in this book, were only a version of reality and not necessarily a true representation of the zeitgeist or social spectrum. This book then becomes an illusion of reality which is an interesting and jarring way to view oneselves experiences. However, by posturing myself in such a similar way to how the characters in The Allegory of The Cave were postured, my surroundings become the wall, the camera becomes a metaphor of the eye, and the construction of this book is my cave. This discourse is important in terms of surveillance as well because it informs us of the position we inhabit in the system of watchfulness in the US, and how we contribute to it with technology. This is evident in the contrast of paranoia and narcissism that we experience in the 21st century. With social media being a major factor of approval, we become paranoid over likes, followers, subscribers, and friends. This tone has shifted immensely since my parents generation of Cold War paranoia based in fear, contrasted to my own based in narcissism. We see how this has changed since we have become more susceptible to subscribe to avenues of surveillance and watchfulness, or rather have been subjugated by those in power.  With the rise of surveillance came the ubiquity of reality television. The United States experienced a transformation from postmodernism to television culture. We increasingly became fascinated with watching other people’s lives, from shows like The Real World, Keeping Up With The Kardashians, and Big Brother. The banal, the exciting, and the shocking, were all broadcasted for us to sit at home and watch unfold. This shift in culture within the American household conditioned us to become more open to being watched or surveilled ourselves, whether through means of social media or other ways unknown to us. We see this currently happening in social media platforms shifting to non-permanent manifestations like options to go “live” or post to your “story” which disappears after 24 hours. These ways of communication speak to the degradation of the human condition and the disposability of visual culture. With The Truman Show, we see Truman Burbank (Jim Carrey) living in a constructed, utopian environment made just for him. As the film progresses, the viewer sees Truman at the precipice of finding out that he is being watched. This moment of realization is what I am interested in and chose to mainly focus this project on. The moment when the oblivious turns obvious and we realize that our illusion of reality is just that, an illusion. This book is about Wednesday; the middle of the week,     and the most uneventful day in my personal schedule. The banal qualities of Wednesday are evident in the first day being a two hour time lapse sequence of the sun rising in my bedroom in Brooklyn, New York. I am not seen in the frame but my space is revealed to the viewer. I compare this moment to the theatre, when the curtain first rises and the audience is greeted with the set. This sets a first person tone to the viewer which is important because this book is about self-surveillance and the subversive act of strapping a camera to my body and recording from the first person. My likeness is never shown except in some instances where the camera is pointed at reflective surfaces. This book is the moment of realization compounded into a 700 page visual index with the dimensions of a phone book. The phone book dimensions speak to the social and anthropological framework I am using to analyse how this is a spectator society. This Marxist theory helps support my claims of human degradation, the oversaturation of visual culture, class alienation, mass media, and cultural homogenization. When Debord says that “All that was once directly lived has become mere representation,” he is referring to the central importance of the image in contemporary society. Images, Debord says, have supplemented genuine human interaction. Therefore, Debord states: “The spectacle is not a collection of images; rather, it is a social relationship between people that is mediated by images.” In a consumer society, social life is not about living, but about having; the spectacle uses the image to convey what people need and must have. Consequently, social life moves further, leaving a state of “having” and proceeding into a state of “appearing”; namely the appearance of the image. For this reason, the book contains no page numbers or folios, only numbers to state the date before each section. The indexing and collecting of images creates a pathos to the viewer, connecting my everyday life to theirs. The images are situated in a horizontal fashion where the user is forced to turn the book and flip the pages up. This adds to the sense of passing of time as the images bleed into the gutter and off the page at the top and bottom. The grid or index at the end of each section is printed on high quality gloss photo paper in color. The contrast between the high-quality grid to the cheap, fast, and low-quality printing method used for the majority of the book speaks to the automatic nature of construction. The newsprint lends itself back again to the phone book, a symbol of indexing and society. The pathos connection that the book offers to the viewer creates the effect of surveillance and poses certain ethical questions about the people featured in the images. This is what I hope to convey: a stimulated response of slight paranoia or anxiety as we arrive on the precipice of knowing that we are being watched.  The camera used for this project was a GoPro Hero 3 set on a time lapse setting that takes a 1920x1080 resolution photo every 60 seconds. This device was mounted to my chest with a body mount facing forward. I wore this camera for two hours every Wednesday for 6 weeks. The images that appear in this publication are raw, unedited, and chronological as they they appeared in the files. Every day is displayed as 120 images, one image per page in black and white, and then indexed into a color grid at the end of each section. The grids at the end of each section act a breath for the viewer, offering a moment of reflection and overview. This is done to help better show the illusion of time and pacing. The construction, dimensions, and scale of this book convey my illusion of reality. With only a few design rules put in place, the content flows into the layout and abides by the parameters. The majority of the pages of the book were printed on a standard xerox machine in Chinatown New York with the grids being printed on a high quality ink-jet. All pages were compiled and perfect bound by a separate binding company. This book then becomes an artifact of time and visuals, not meant to felt precious, but resolute nonetheless. However, growing up in the saturated visual culture of Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook, we were taught that nothing really lasts forever. Living in a world of disposable imagery, the materials and methods of production of this book comment on how we are currently conditioned to view imagery in the 21st century. Much like a newspaper, the minute it is published, it becomes outdated.  The ethical implications that exist within the framework of this project directly speak to the system in which I am trying to subvert. By photographing people’s likeness without their consent can be seen as a violation of personal privacy and ethically problematic. However, this book acts as an artifact of information to the viewer about surveillance as a whole. The way that this project was executed comments on the very structure we subscribe to. I attempt to inform the audience how we are being watched wherever we go, and a lot of the times in our own homes too, without our consent. Therefore capturing images of strangers is something     that is already being done by multiple entities around us almost constantly. One of the main goals of this project is to draw attention to the issues we face about security and surveillance on a daily basis. However, it is important to address how the methods of data collection can be seen as counterproductive to the overall goal of this project. By seeing strangers in the frame of images shown in this publication, you begin to question and wonder where your likeness could be without your knowledge or consent. This pensivity is what I hope to achieve by choosing to film outwardly in a first person manner.  This book is for everyone. It lives as a physical entity but can take on a digital form due to the the nature of the content. With a psychological, philosophical, and anthropological framework, this project both poses and answers some questions about surveillance. With The Allegory of The Cave as a baseline, the user experiences a perception of reality different from their own. The project then lends itself to the discourse of visual culture in America and the implications of a disposable society and how this has turned us into a spectacle society. More importantly, this project highlights to what extent we are being watched on a daily basis. The publication sets a tone and postures itself in such a way that it acts as a subversive mechanism against the way surveillance has evolved over the years. This is a book about self-surveillance, and the banalities of Wednesday. Its excessiveness, abundance, and ambiguity leave the viewer with many questions about lived experiences and the illusion of reality. The lack of preface or context helps make this a more subtle device and also leaves it open to the viewers interpretation until the end. This project explores themes of human degradation, commodity fetishism, self-surveillance, and reality television. These topics are all very complex and at times controversial, however, the idea of creating a discourse with just an abundance of imagery is something that interested me from very early in this process. The ways in which excessiveness and breadth of content can speak in a pervasive manner that ignites thought and interest in the viewer.     Andrew Ramirez  Parsons School of Design  Communication Design Senior Thesis  New York, NY  May, 2017
       
     
 This magazine highlights the career of 20th century interior designer, Verner Panton.    Andrew Ramirez  Parsons School of Design  Editorial Practices  New York, NY  2017
       
     
 The goal of “Invisible Stories” is to work outside the normal medium of photography; instead of going out and setting up shoots, cameras were given to four homeless people. These, in conjunction with extensive interviews, allowed us to see into the real lives of people. The camera, acting as a tool of personal narrative, helped facilitate the creation of a photographic autobiography. The agency this provided allowed us to maintain a relationship with the subjects without objectifying them. This was essential to the project: preventing the othering of a demographic that, especially in New York City, is often disregarded and stigmatized. In this way, the project also challenges the definition of the photographer and the photographed. There were no parameters or limitations given to the participants, nor were there any suggestions given as to what they should be photographing. Every image we collected is in its original and unedited form. The photo reels are not curated any way, and appear in this publication chronologically as they were captured. In providing the camera to the subjects, we, the documenters, become the audience.    Andrew Ramirez  Parsons School of Design  Documentary Practices  New York, NY  2016
       
     
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