This is a site-specific artwork that auto-generates narrative films based upon data collected from Facebook users. Using a combination of status updates, YouTube uploads and video portraits — each one a form of surveillance — the work explores the relationship between exhibitonism and voyeurism. Facebook is a new kind of social space: one that gives us an opportunity to share personal information about ourselves with people all over the world. Does this mean that people know us better? Or does it simply allow us to have more control over how we present the person we want to be?
This is the first art project to be made ‘inside’ Facebook, and takes advantage of the controversial privacy settings available to Facebook developers. It also uses story detection software designed to discover narrative in large volumes of blog entries (developed at USC by Reid Swanson). YouTube, as a large, self-tagged database of human activities, is an ideal source of contextual data to accompany the Facebook narratives. The project runs as a Facebook application: all people who join the application will be participating in the art work. Data from their profile — age, gender and status updates — will be analyzed for narrative content, and potentially used to generate a short film. In exchange, each video that is generated is posted to participants’ Facebook pages, locating their own individual ‘story’ within a much larger set of human concerns.
This artwork has been commissioned by Folly for the Abandon Normal Devices Festival of New Cinema and Digital Culture. The festival runs from 15 March – 10 April 2010. During this period, one film will be generated each day. After the festival, the artwork will be permanently hosted on Folly’s website and one film will be generated each week. Above is a sample video generated by the system.
Project Overview http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3QrnGkbZZk0