I started the TenderEyez project in the fall of 2019 using autoethnographic methods to explore some of the questions explored in my master’s thesis work at the intersection of smart home/city devices such as smart home security cameras and systems that detect, reflect, and/or respond to emotions, mood, personality, and so on (affective computing).
Building on Mann, Nolan, & Wellman’s (2003) sousveillance performances, the TenderEyez project aims to highlight this imbalance by initiating and carrying on a conversation with these cameras that the cameras themselves are unable of participating in. The intended effect is to return power and autonomy to passersby by flipping the one-sided interaction in their favor. It also may serve to bring awareness to those with smart home security cameras regarding the impact of participation in neighborhood surveillance. This project is meant to nurture the development and use of technology that prioritizes reciprocity.