We live in times which place a particularly high value on transparency and surveillance. So the desire in society to know everything about us and the desire to allow agents to know everything about us co-exist at the same time.
And then, after this process, what kind of personal knowledge exists? What does anyone know about me? Understanding this to be only what I share and make visible would be very simplistic. Pattern recognition and “persona fingerprinting,” enjoy a similar kind of significant position that artificial intelligence once did. Everything I do is known, either immediately or through a process. Either in whole or through pieces put together by analyzing patterns.
We are implicated in this process by willingly letting our web identity and presence become a brochure. And letting social media become a space for thinking aloud. Our website-brochures communicate our polished professional profile and social media confirms that we are human and reachable. It seems like a plan for making a convincing sales-pitch.
But, one of the important indicators of self-perceptions of balance is the availability of contextual learning experiences. Depending on what we need to learn and in which field, whether or not we have sufficient opportunities to do so often determines how balanced and complete we feel.
Amongst art practitioners specifically, there are multiple learning processes which are active. From mentors and teachers in school, we learn skills, methodologies and processes. The dynamic knowledge that we generate through our practice, the stories with information about tactics, contexts, manipulations, ad-hoc networks do not find a way to travel. These stories are private in nature, but besides other reasons, because they require a knowledge of the operating context to be fully deciphered.
When these stories are shared amongst peers they are understood more fully as there are shared contexts and concerns. When shared widely to anonymous readers these set of shared contexts are easily lost. These stories are specifically unsuitable for being shared publicly on the Internet or through books. So, sharing happens amongst people who share personal ties or spaces (across emails, face to face conversations). This condition of course limits any potential impact these stories might have had by narrowing their distribution to chance conversations. Peer-learning happens though practitioners who explicitly have a contract to share these stories in an effort to exchange different sets of desired learning objectives. Peer-learning exchanges are facilitated by the presence of certain characteristics. Primary characteristics: privacy, diversity, shared syntax and navigability.
The masking hardware apparatus allows a kind of privileging and layering of the access which people have to an online resource or conversation.
How does it work?
1. gift an object to a friend.
2. share a story on your site that you only want your friend to access.
3. your friend visits your website and plugs in the object to the computer.
4. your friend sees the story (and maybe can even contribute to it).
Exactly which kind of conversations and resources we will figure out after we put it to use. I will gift these objects some of you who want to seed an online resource or conversation with me or each other.
An internet where any index, any array of search results cannot hope to be like a directory or a comprehensive list. But only a map of buildings which have a name, on streets which have navigable pathways. It cannot get a whiff of the undercurrent. Many acts of publishing and archiving on the web would be similar to talking to oneself, there is an aspirational energy of trying to reach some invisible mass, some public. Which is not interested in being reached. Because its already surrounded.
In this din, you cannot have a particular conversation with someone in particular, as it quickly gets infected with the lethargy and the impatience of the swamped reader. Carving out a nanonet, while using the physicality and tangibility of gifts and masqueraded objects might be a way. An ecosystem that shuns attention, rather than embraces it. That weaves together the public context of the web and the secured, personal narratives embedded within it.
p2p will have to take on the essence of a person to person rather than a point to point. Infrastructure created for the millions will have to be carven into for a network of named and known entities.
from a Conversation with Kristoffer Gansing.
What does your project say about technological development? Technological development which scales in way that individuals get shrouded in noise, clutter and database abstraction is not something that aids fundamental urges to converse, collectivize and organize. Personal websites have seen themselves becomes from scribble-pads and notebooks talking to a community to brochures which talk into a vacuum. In a way my project doesn't agree with the tangents of technological development which blur, ambiguate the individual. In a way making it difficult to create fragments, opt-out, disconnect and connect at will, think small.
Chaos, messiness which lets a multiplicity of ideas about the agent behind the machine flourish sit more comfortably.
Technological development needs to be seen as a loopy and cyclical process - memes and ideas get reprocessed and repurposed all the time. At every junction problems are re-defined and orientations can change. Its a process which is confused, hesitant and reluctant to walk very calmly in any one direction.
About incompatibilities? Incompatibilities exist in ideas of the social and community and the imagination of the nature of a conversation.
Between the approaches of authentication and contextualization of conversation.
Would you call it a media-archaeological project? In the sense of excavating for the personal, for ideas of conversation, of collectivizing: yes. In the sense of excavating for different ideas of self-representing and autonarrating, yes.
In the large-world social media, digging away for notions of smallness and for possibilities for introversion, yes.
How will your artistic project outResource a specific technologically informed situation? The project will outResource the growing legibility with concerns about privacy, security and sociality. With a view to fragment, individuate and break the hierarchies between server and client that are inherent in security structures, the project can become a interesting talking point for thinking about the nature of conversations and self-representation online.