"Sousveillance" camera from G20 riots in Toronto allows wearer to film everything occurring from under rather than over. This picture, from Wikipedia, of a necklace webcam, was taken in a stairwell in a building on St. George Street in Toronto. The sousveillance dome is a kind of Situationist critique of surveillance, in the manner of an inverse surveillance. By re-situating the everyday familiar objects of ubiquitous surveillance ("eye in the sky") down at human level, we reverse the Sur (French for "above") to Sous (French for "below").
The Stanley cup riots are safely in the past. We have inquiries, recriminations, and requests for forgiveness. While the fingers are pointed, and authorities wonder how to prevent it in the future, it would be wise for all of us to reflect on the core lesson: civilization is a precious and fragile thing.
By civilization, I mean that large set of values, behaviours, biases and social pressures that allow us to live peacefully, cheek by jowl, in an increasingly frenetic world. Civilization is what allows me to bike calmly down the shoulder of a busy road, while hundreds of fellow citizen drivers could easily kill me through a moment of malice or inattention. Civilization is not taking the express line at the grocery store when you have twenty five items. It is also remaining calm when the person in front of you violates this rule. Civilization allows people to congregate in large crowds without fear of being crushed. Civilization is the good side of political correctness – politely editing one’s own speech to avoid unnecessary offence.