Individual Project – Public Screen, Weymouth House
Our task is to create an interactive information graphic, to be displayed on one of the public screens in the foyer of Weymouth House, using Processing. Designs should reflect upon some idea or concept we perceive to be key to our 21st century media experience, for example reflecting upon concepts such as convergence, ubiquity and or identity. These representations can be both direct information or can be an abstract interpretation.
For this given assignment I have chosen to explore the idea of claustrophobia in the digital world, alongside technology as a performance phenomenon. The concepts I will be looking at include algorithm generated identities, media spaces and lastly the creation of performance through digital media.
Web based algorithms deliver information by relying on data that has been gathered such as an individuals purchasing habits and past searches. The results are picked based on what the algorithm thinks you are most likely to click (more clicks means more revenue), which presents a massive problem for those who desire to have a well rounded worldview. We are given what we want and not what we need. We need opposing views in order to grow as individuals. If we are spoon fed our own thoughts we cannot understand the way others think and we cannot expect them to understand us (Fordham University 2014).
Web based algorithms generate a structured identity for most individuals, for example with Google they tend to look at what kind of computers individuals are using, what browsers and where they are located to personally taylor an individuals query results.
In the below talk given by Eli Pariser (2011) he states “there is no standard Google”. Eli Pariser got two individuals to type into Google ‘Egypt’ and send him a screenshot of their search results, when comparing the screenshots you can see that each screenshot is entirely different from the other. These search engines are constructing what we see by using various algorithm methodologies, they are almost putting us into categories or ‘boxes’ and limiting what we see when partaking in a search query.
As individuals we are stuck in what is deemed as a ‘super-brain’, which is extremely difficult to leave in order to use our own. Surrounded by this chaotic whirlwind of information we are stuck in a room full of indistinct chatter, picking up bits and pieces of conversations and incorporating them into our own (Fordham University 2014).
Postman (2010) suggests we are glutted with information, drowning in information, have no control over it, don’t know what to do with it.
I truly believe that the algorithm generated identities on the web are contributing to an enclosed media space of access which as Fordham University (2014) stated is “not what we need”. We are stuck inside a super-brain and therefore only shown what our web identity category allows us to see. In this assignment I want to portray this idea of enclosure and claustrophobia in the online digital world as well as combining a performance aspect to my design graphic.
I will be taking key inspiration from the following piece Disorder by CENC – Mapping Festival 2011. This piece combines performance through dance and Processing – computer generated imagery.
Fordham University, 2014. Claustrophobia in the Collective Superbrain[online]. Digital Media & Cyberculture. Available from:https://fordhamcyberculture.wordpress.com/2014/05/08/claustrophobia-in-the-collective-superbrain/ [Accessed 20th November 2014].
Mapping Festival, 2011. CENC – Mapping Festival 2011[online]. Available from: http://vimeo.com/32111537 [Accessed 20th November 2014].
Postman, N.P., 1990. Informing Ourselves To Death[online]. Stuttgart: German Informatics Society.
TedTalks, 2011. Eli Pariser: Beware online “filter bubbles”[online]. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8ofWFx525s [Accessed 20th November 2014].