ALGORITHMIC PEEP SHOW
Casting a human gaze on the algorithm
The internet by design is not anonymous, every step we take online produces data which gets analyzed and quantified by algorithms for profit. Based on inferences about our consumer preferences, so-called Digital Selves are created even without us explicitly sharing private information in the first place.
These processes are highly inscrutable - we never know how the algorithms surveil us, what kind of predictions they make about us and when they control our online experience. Yet their judgment and actions have big impacts on our lives: the digital realm has infiltrated and influenced our relationships, consumer behavior and political perspectives for a long time already. With their knowledge, they market us and our attention – the time we spend online, the things we look at, our preferences and interactions all become profitable commodities that can be seized and manipulated. As a result of this, we spend more time scrolling through feeds, buying into trends advertised to us and become hooked on the digital attention of others.
If left unobserved, algorithmic gazes will continue to micro-manage our lives in the most shameless ways, so what if we could cast a human gaze back on them?
THE ALGORITHIC PEEPSHOW is a collection of router like objects that allow us to take a look at critical inferences made about us, so we can start to learn and understand algorithmic workings. They apply the same technology online services utilize in order to access and create data about us, yet not for profit but to move us closer to a culture of transparency. Each object reveals inferred information about either ourCONSUMPTION, POLITICS or HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS. While each object gives us immediate insights about our Digital Self, they reveal their true potential through their presence and the continuous experience we share with them: they sit in our homes and support our online experience – whenever we feel wondering or confronted with glimpses of our Digital Self, we can consult them and cast a look at our otherwise hidden digital identity.