[ISEA2019] Artist Statement: Timo Toots – Memopol-3

Artist Statement

Interactive installation, dimensions variable.

Memopol-3 is an installation that visualizes the visitors’ information field. It’s an Orwellian dystopia which is built on the technology of today. The tools of the surveillance economy are abused to create a personal physical surveillance experience. Physical and virtual identities are quantified and processed into a stream of data. After the phases of data collection, the visitor experiences a transcendent reflection of oneself that combines the past and the future, physical and immaterial into an audio-visual ceremony.
The experience of Memopol-3 starts with the visitors identifying themselves with passports or ID-cards. The visitor is asked to connect their Android or iPhone smartphone to the system. All private information stored in the smartphone is copied and analyzed by algorithms and neural networks. Contact lists, messages, call histories, WiFi networks, photos, videos, etc are used to create a 10-minute-long animated graph of the visitor’s life. The audio-visual piece is presented privately in a separate room. Relationships, daily behaviors, important life events, and photographic memories are viewed from the perspective of a big brother.
The terms and conditions of Memopol-3:
1. By using the machine you agree to the collection and processing of your private information.
2. Data will be collected from your smartphone and from the internet.
3. Your data will be visualized in a private room.
4. All private data will be deleted after the visit.
5. People aged under 13 must have parental permission.
Memopol-3 works only with Android phones and iPhones. You need a passport or ID-card to access the installation.
The duration of the experience is around 15-30 minutes and depends on the amount of data stored on the phone.

  • Timo Toots (b.1982, Estonia) is a new media artist living and working in Estonia. His artistic research concentrates on the relationship between humans and technology. He is addressing the question of privacy in the surveillance society and the role of the individual in the structures of society. His works take the shape of an interactive installation for strong physical experiences. He has exhibited since 2006 around Europe and the US. In 2012 Toots won Ars Electronica Grand Prix for interactive arts with his project Memopol-2. His works are in collections of ZKM (Zentrum für Kunst und Medien) and Art Museum of Estonia. Toots studied computer science at Tartu University and photography at the Estonian Academy of Arts. He is the founder and manager of an art and technology farm, studio and an artist residency called MAAJAAM in the countryside in South of Estonia. MAAJAAM is concentrated on researching, experimenting with and reflecting on the relationships between people, technology and nature.