Book review on Astro Noise: A Survival Guide for Living Under Total Surveillance

Book cover image taken from 

This book review was completed by Amanda Rahn and Jared Hoehing for our COM 5500 class at Wayne State University. In it, we discuss the book’s format, main points and our thoughts on its quality.

Astro Noise: A Survival Guide for Living Under Total Surveillance was written and compiled by Laura Poitras and published in 2016. It’s a collection of essays by authors like Dave Eggers, leakers like Edward Snowden, and filmmakers like Poitras herself. Some chapters are fictional short stories about privacy and surveillance, while others are fact-heavy explanations of the state’s capacity to watch its citizens.

The book coincides with Poitras’ art exhibit at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City called Astro Noise.

The museum says:

“The exhibition expands on Poitras’ project to document post-9/11 America, engaging visitors in formats outside her non-fiction filmmaking. Her immersive environments incorporate documentary footage, architectural interventions, primary documents, and narrative structures, inviting visitors to interact with the material in strikingly intimate and direct ways.”

Learn more about Poitras and her work here, and purchase her book, Astro Noise: A Survival Guide for Living Under Total Surveillance, here.

Here’s a brief introduction for the book from the Whitney:

“The filmmaker, artist, and journalist Laura Poitras has explored the themes of mass surveillance, ‘war on terror,’ drone program, Guantánamo, and torture in her work for more than ten years. In 2013, Poitras was contacted by Edward Snowden, a former National Security Agency subcontractor who leaked classified information about government-sponsored surveillance. Her resulting documentary, Citizenfour, which won an Academy Award for best documentary feature in 2015, is the third film in her post-9/11 film trilogy.”

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