Waking Ouroboros




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Royal College of Art



Peer reviewed



This was a performed reading of ‘Waking Ouroboros’, an illustrated essay that interweaves a near-future, magical realist, short fiction with speculative musings on the notions of transparency, visibility, surveillance and self-consumption. The capacity of communication technology to align all spaces across the globe has developed gradually since the invention of telegraph, telephone, airplane, Internet, and so on. Thanks to satellites that hover beyond the sky at present, surveillance is a reality in all places. By the CCTV cameras and smartphones of western democracies and the weaponized drones that survey the desert, the collection of cookies by Internet shopping sites and the Google Street View car, individuals are made into images for the future. This writing proposes an immediate and jolting advance in such visual synchronization that, in addition to collapsing space, collapses time in a profound way. In the instant that a photograph is taken, the subject is confronted with the faces of each and every person who will ever view it, a terrifying prospect that fundamentally changes the human relationship to the image, its production, and its consumption. Photography becomes a literal violence.

This presentation was a performed reading as part of the symposium, Speculations: The Technological Gaze at the Royal College of Art. My presentation included live interaction with Google Earth as well as a PowerPoint of images which I cannot include here for the sake of copyrighted images. Other presenters included James Bridle, Rebecca Bligh, and James W. Hedges.


The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.


technological gaze, waking ouroboros, transparency, Kendall Walton, Barthes, Borjes, speculative fiction, magical realism


Rahaim, M. (2015) Waking Ouroboros. Speculations: The Technological Gaze symposium, Royal College of Art, London, 2015.


Research Institute