Technology & Law & Order

Jeff Thompson Law And Order Technology 1

Don’t know why but I’ve recently taken to starting from the beginning and watching Sex & The City thanks to HBO GO. Aside from embarrassing hair and questionable habits, a big thing that has drawn me into the show is its use of technology. The girls are constantly calling their voicemails to see if anyone called them and Carrie’s laptop is an increasingly less bulky black proto-Macbook. It’s a funny moving time capsule.

Artist Jeffery Thompson has noticed this too—but in Law & Order. That show is one that has been on longer and has spanned into all sorts of spinoffs, covering everything from juries to special victims. What L&W has that S&TC doesn’t is a more urgent need to use technology, that they need these machines to help solve crimes and therefore must include them in more episodes. Thus, Thompson figured that he would study the over ten year tenure of the show as a better time capsule—and he’s logged every computer screen on the show.

Jeff Thompson Law And Order Technology 2

Jeff Thompson Law And Order Technology 3

The story of Thompson’s work hit it big last week via a Yahoo News Tech story where they spoke with the artist about his work. The art project is an obsessive something that had him screengrabbing every little computer (and technology, really) interaction displayed on the show. Computers slowly slim down and on-screen graphics go from embarrassing chunky pixels to sleeker—but still fat—grids. His logging all of this work is going to be showcased at New York’s Museum of the Moving Image on February 1, where he’ll be giving an illustrated lecture.

Thompson’s obsession with technology and entertainment can be seen as ridiculous but it is obviously a clever way to see not only what we were using but what we weren’t using and what was being advertised to us. It’s a clever, pseudo-scientific study done in the name of art that will likely start trickling into other shows. Perhaps I should go back and do the same with Sex & The City? I’ll leave that to Thompson. See more on his Law & Order studies here and here.

Jeff Thompson Law And Order Technology 4

Jeff Thompson Law And Order Technology 5

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January 29, 2014 / By