I was today years old when I found out that there was a 24/7 livestream going on of famous pop-art artist Andy Warhol’s gravestone. Now you might ask yourself, why? Apparently it has been installed to commemorate the would-be 85th birthday of the artist and has been streaming ever since. I must say that answer didn’t leave me very satisfied, the question of why it what I did find out, after some internet research, was that this was not the only live stream going on that was, to say the least, a little strange. Thus, here my blogpost about sometimes weird, sometimes questionable and sometimes downright alarming live streams.
Las Vegas wedding chapel
While I was scrolling through the website where the Andy Warhol gravestone is being live streamed, I found another live stream which was, to say the least, quite interesting. The Las Vegas wedding chapel cam is a live stream where a wedding chapel in Las Vegas is being live streamed. So yes, you can watch drunk people make the mistake of getting married in Las Vegas. And… the vendor has an Elvis Presley impersonator. Although this might all seem funny at first, the ethics behind the livestreaming are questionable at best. But all and all, it still is pretty funny to watch drunk people get married with an Elvis impersonator.
The One Dollar Hotel
A live stream that I found even a little more strange than the Las Vegas wedding chapel cam, was the live stream from the Japanese One Dollar Hotel. Although you can stay the night in the hotel for only a dollar, there is a, slightly strange and to some even disturbing, catch, you have to live stream your entire stay. This means that the entire time that you are in that room, there is a possibility that you are being watched by people online. Now, the hotel does have some rules: you can turn the light off whenever you want, the sound is not being captured, the bathroom does not have any cameras in it and any lewd activities are prohibited. However, it does seem extremely strange to me still. To me, this type of live stream really confronts people with how little we value our own privacy nowadays because people actually do this! Not only do we give away our privacy online without much thought behind it, but this lack of care is also actually being translated into
Spycams in Hotels
Finally, I would like to draw your attention to the most disturbing examples of them all, the recording and/or live streaming of your hotel stay via secret hidden cameras. In South Korea these hidden cameras, or molkas, have become a real problem. The goal of these cameras is to capture you and your partner engaging in sexual activity, your hotel stay becomes their pornographic content. Of course, this is totally unacceptable. Although the South Korean government is trying hard to stop the people who put these secret cameras in the hotel room, unfortunately this is still happening today. While it might not be live streaming in itself that is causing this harm, I do think that this shows the privacy problems that we are encountering in a world where (security) technology is advancing so rapidly.
I had no idea there were such weird live streams that people actually tuned in for. The website that you shared, EarthCam, looks really fascinating – I am now really intrigued in scrolling through it to see what is the weirdest livestream I can find. But it is interesting that there is an audience for all of these livestreams that you mention. I wouldn’t think that someone would be very interested in seeing other people just live in a hotel room, but apparently there is a market for everything. I wonder if, in the future, this will become more common – to look at other people just living their daily lives “live”.
Very interesting! Your blog reminded me of a few Tv programs that I forgot existed. I remember as a kid watching a dutch program in which people were ‘locked up’ in a house (probably around 2010), they had to always wear their mics and everywhere in the house were cameras following them (except in de bathroom). This program had fixed days on which the highlights of the week got broadcasted but you could still tune in and watch these people 24/7 on a different channel. Even though I don’t see the charm in it, I think that watching people do ‘nothing’ is not completely a new phenomenon. However these people knew they were being watched a willingly took part in a 24/7 surveillance Tv program, so I deffinitely agree with you that the ethics behind livestreams are questionable. Especially if the people in the livestream don’t know they are parttaking in a livestream it becomes a huge privacy problem.
This is super disturbing in my opinion! And I’m not sure which one is more strange/bizarre/disturbing… the fact that people do put cameras in hotel rooms (not always informing its residents about) and the constant live streaming or the fact that there are people who actually watch it. But at the same time, when they do know that they are being live streamed (as in the case of the Dollar Hotel) and they do agree, I start to think that the lines between what can be public and what should be kept private are becoming very blurry. Especially nowadays, when we already share a lot on our social media. So maybe one could start to wonder “what’s the difference in being live streamed when already so much of my life is online?”
I think the need for new, invasive content is definitely worrying. While reality shows prove that people have always been interested in seeing what kind of weird or unusual stuff others get themselves involved with, it goes very far to just record any non-consenting or cheaply consenting, as that $1 for your consent goes, person just going about their day or night. I think this is absolutely an issue and a worrying trend to see.
It’s getting more and more creepy… I also had no idea about such places. It might be curious to some extent but it can really go behind the moral borders, especially if we talk about secret cameras. Because when you know that you are being observed, you can at least control it, but being watched secretly is a whole different level. It violates human rights I guess.
There are also so-called “trash streams” where you can pay money and ask people to do various thing live. In my opinion, it is extremely disturbing.