[ISEA2011] Panel: Bir­git Bach­ler – A Cozy Place for In­vis­i­ble Friends

Panel Statement

Panel: Sniff, Scrape, Crawl: Part 1

Pro­files on so­cial net­work­ing sites make it eas­ier for al­go­rithms to an­a­lyze us, and the in­for­ma­tion we vol­un­tar­ily share with peo­ple can also be seen as a form of par­tic­i­pa­tory sur­veil­lance. Con­nected through con­stant up­date mes­sages, pic­tures and the pos­si­bil­ity of im­me­di­ate re­sponse, we be­come sub­ject to the feed­back of our cir­cle of friends. When com­mu­ni­cat­ing on­line we not only con­form to the rules of the plat­form we use, but also seem to con­trol and gov­ern each other by al­ways keep­ing an eye on each oth­ers thoughts and ac­tions. Just as we need to de­fine what we are com­fort­able with show­ing and shar­ing, we are also re­spon­si­ble for man­ag­ing our mul­ti­tude of iden­ti­ties be­fore and amongst a me­di­ated pub­lic. How­ever, within the mainly vi­su­ally ori­ented en­vi­ron­ment of so­cial net­works, we can never be sure who is hid­den, vis­i­ble and ac­tu­ally watch­ing. In­stead we are left to dis­cover our sense of pri­vacy through mak­ing choices within a set of bi­nary op­tions and as a re­sult ex­pe­ri­ence the lim­i­ta­tions of on­line so­cial spaces. Open­ness can be mis­taken for over-ex­po­sure and ret­i­cence might evoke sus­pi­cion. In an econ­omy of shar­ing and being shared, my talk will ask if screen-based tech­nolo­gies are the only key to our so­cial life or are there pos­si­ble ways of es­cap­ing the never-end­ing feed­back loop.

  • Bir­git Bach­ler is an Aus­trian new media artist liv­ing, work­ing, and study­ing in Rot­ter­dam (NL). She holds a BA in In­for­ma­tion De­sign/Media & In­ter­ac­tion De­sign and is cur­rently study­ing at the Piet Zwart In­sti­tute, Mas­ter Media De­sign and Com­mu­ni­ca­tion: Net­worked Media (Rot­ter­dam). She has a back­ground in in­ter­ac­tive, au­dio­vi­sual media and pro­gram­ming, and her past re­search has fo­cused on the in­flu­ence of emer­gent media on our every­day lives and how tech­nol­ogy in­flu­ences and ma­nip­u­lates so­cial be­hav­ior. Bach­ler’s re­cent work fea­tures a dat­ing-like web­site built upon gro­cery shop­ping data, an al­ter­na­tive map of Rot­ter­dam based on peo­ple’s win­dow dec­o­ra­tions and a lo­ca­tion-based so­cial net­work of au­di­ble con­tent.  birgitbachler.com/portfolio

Full text (PDF) p. 159-161