Back in October I had the pleasure of experiencing an interesting Digital Disconnections event at the Royal Academy of Art (London). I attended as a creative ambassador, to help out with running of the student led workshops and as a keen member of public.
The theme of the workshops was internet, technology and the privacy of data.
The first one called I (WE) AM (ARE) ANONYMOUS struck me with its simplicity and ability to illustrate the concept of anonymity that could play a major role in irresponsible behaviour on forums, etc. The laptop was placed in a small space enclosed by a screen and a one way mirror. The visitor was asked to type anything they could think off and it would appear projected onto the floor in about a minute’s time. A person behind the screen can see all the people in the room, however other members of the public could not. It was explained by the artists, current Spatial Design students at LCC that the time taken by the computer to hold up the typed information was irregular and depended upon how many people posted, which, contributed to the idea of anonymity. What I gathered from talking to the audience was that the majority were afraid to post anything as they were conscious of what other people would think or say about them, others asked whether anything offensive had been posted so far.
Another one I had an opportunity to explore was called FLICKERING PHRONISTERION where the brainwaves of participants were monitored, whilst experiencing a “Dreamachine”. The concept came from the 1950’s, which, said that while experiencing the flickers of light with your eyes closed emergent sonic guides and voices recede and new ideas come to the forefront of your mind.
I also had an opportunity to participate in a personal data research project where I handed out pieces of paper with different questions on them to the members of public asking them to fill in those to give back to me. Once I gathered the answers I handed those out to “hiders” who then gave out the pieces of information to other people. The theme of this workshop was to illustrate the travel of data, passing on of the information, which we can experience in Google and Wikipedia for instance.
What is particularly interesting about this exhibition was that the technology was used as a piece of art being an integral part of it if not the only one. It is also quite difficult to determine whether it is a post internet art as it rather appears to be a mixture of objects talking about technology and the technology talking about itself. This exhibition is one of a series which, redefine art for the age of the internet. It is not a shift from the past but rather a summary of all the technological advancements that happened so far and they effects on people.
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