[ISEA2015] Artists Statement: Silvio Lorusso & Sebastian Schmieg – NETWORKED OPTIMIZATION

Artists Statement

Crowd-sourced book installation (2013)

Networked Optimization is a series of three crowd-sourced versions of popular self-help books. Each book contains the full text, which is however invisible because it is set in white on a white background. The only text that remains readable consists of the so-called “popular highlights” – the passages that were underlined by many Kindle users – together with the amount of highlighters. Each time a passage is underlined, it is automatically stored in Amazon’s data centers. Among the books with the most popular highlights, there is a striking number of self-help books. This points to a multi-layered, algorithmic optimization: from readers and authors to Amazon itself. Harvesting its customers’ micro-labour, the act of reading becomes a data-mining process. The series consists of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, The 5 Love Languages of Love, and How to Win Friends & Influence People.

  • Silvio Lorusso is an Italian artist, designer, and researcher. His ongoing PhD research in Design Sciences at Iuav University of Venice is focused on experimental publishing informed by digital technology. He took part in exhibitions and events, such as Transmediale (Berlin, Germany), Impakt (Utrecht, Netherlands), Off the Press (Rotterdam, Netherlands), and Fahrenheit39 (Ravenna, Italy). His writing has appeared in Metropolis M, Progetto Grafico, and Doppiozero.
  • Sebastian Schmieg is a Berlin, Germany-based artist, teacher and programmer who works with found materials and custom software to create pieces that examine the way contemporary technologies shape online and offline realities. Previously his work has been exhibited at Bitforms Gallery, New York, USA; Transmediale, Berlin, Germany; and Impakt Festival, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Text with images (PDF)  p. 161