MY TENDENCY TO WRITE things into my Moleskine journal while chatting with friends most often leaves everyone satisfied. It's as though people feel their time is respected more when people take notes of important things. However, if I expose my Sony digital dictaphone--or go so far as lay it on the table in clear view--the mood changes. And why is that? Moreover,
why should public spaces, maintained by the public purse, be permitted to restrict the act of recording still photography or soundscapes? I normally respect this standard inside courthouses but I've been known to inadvertently activate my pressure-sensitive Sony ICD MX-20 and walk out with hours of testimony. My bad. It seems I cannot enter a holding area in front of an immigration control point without encountering a sign that tells me to turn off my mobile phone. I don't but I silence it out of respect for the workplace. I don't record one-on-one conversations unless the participants agree that the conversation is "on the record." I normally snap pictures of signs warning against use of mobile phones and I also snap the CCTV camera that monitors potential offenders. Those signs and devices are meant to control us. Their display and use are partially paid through the tax I paid to land at the airport in question. I want to record my signage.
I also switch on my digital dictaphone from the moment I walk onto terra firma. I like to record the verbal jostling at passenger checkpoints. I learn from the verbal demeanour of those entrusted to welcome people at international terminals. I'm building an archive of that.
But to placate my friends and those troubled by my roaming gaze and the roving bug in my pocket, I'm considering getting a lapel pin that says, "Portions of this moment may be recorded for training purposes."
Like Thomas Hawk, I have an artistic goal as well. Hawk wants to snap 100,000 images of San Francisco over the next 20 years. I'll settle for 1000 of Dublin airport before the end of the decade.
And along the way, I'm looking for the security personnel who despise being photographed. My lens caps will be off and my finger ready on the shutter controls.
Maryrose Lyons -- "Permission to podcast, sir."