Type: Virtual Art Installation
My Role: Individual Research and Design
Instructors: Anaa Maaria & Sebastian Tiew
Time: Summer 2018
Location: AA School, London
Welcome to Anti-filter Cube, a virtual art installation that serves as a powerful manifesto against the manipulation of filter algorithms. In today's world, it is all too easy to become trapped in filter bubbles, surrounded by carefully curated content that reinforces our preexisting beliefs and desires. But in the Anti-filter Cube, visitors are invited to break free from these invisible chains and experience the raw, unfiltered world as it truly is. Through the use of digitalized QR codes, the Cube removes all traces of personal preference, leaving nothing but pure, unfiltered reality. Step inside and see the world with fresh eyes, free from the biases and manipulations of the filter algorithm.
This virtual art installation seeks to confront the dangers of filter bubbles, which have become an increasingly pressing issue in today's society. These bubbles, as coined by internet activist Eli Pariser, occur when website algorithms tailor a user's search results to their personal information, leading to the isolation of opposing viewpoints and the creation of cultural or ideological bubbles. The effectiveness and widespread use of these filters can breed a society of self-absorbed individuals and have been used for sinister political purposes, manipulating people's perceptions of the world and contributing to polarizing and extremist beliefs.
The circulation of biased information is facilitated by the filter bubble, which has been used to manipulate the media and the public's views. The unfortunate reality is that people often only want to believe what they want to believe, making it difficult to break free from the comfort of these bubbles. The 2016 presidential election was a prime example, with the unexpected triumph of Trumpism occurring while many were insulated from it. Even the photo circulated on social media to demonstrate media manipulation was eventually proven to be fake, highlighting the irony of the situation.
The filter bubble is only exacerbated by a lack of access to crucial information. In 2003, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell made a fateful presentation to the United Nations Security Council, claiming that the Iraqi government possessed weapons of mass destruction. To support this claim, he presented a PowerPoint slideshow featuring annotated satellite images. These original satellite images were inaccessible. The ramifications of being denied access to original sources are far-reaching and further entrench the filter bubble.
Ultimately, the filter bubble prevents humans from accepting the true state of the world, leading to societal polarization and a growing divide between groups. This art installation seeks to challenge these harmful effects and encourage the breaking of intellectual isolation.
An ironic twist: the photo circulated on social media to demonstrate media manipulation was eventually debunked as fake, with no media outlets found to have used the cropped version.
Four slides from U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell's 2003 Powerpoint presentation to the United Nations Security Council detail annotated satellite images of Iraq, with the original satellite data unavailable. It is now known that there were no weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq.
Photographer Wolfgang Tillmans has spoken out about the increasing divisions in the world. He said, “I saw this schizophrenic scenario where, on the other hand, peace seemed for the first time all pervasive in Western European and North American perception, but at the time there was a war going on every day during the nineties…… But we didn’t WANT to acknowledge it.” People on opposite sides of these divides often do not see or understand each other. He said, “Pictures, in order to see the world.” and “to look without fear.” As a photographer of transience, Tillmans captures fleeting moments and objects that are here one day and gone the next.
Bernd and Hilla Becher were German artists known for their photographs of disappearing industrial architecture in Europe and North America. These structures, which the Bechers saw as lines on the face of the world, were captured in portraits that document our history. Even when the structures are demolished, grassed over and erased from the landscape, the photographs remain as a testament to their existence.
The top floor of the Russian Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale is a disorienting experience, with every surface inside covered in QR codes that visitors can decode using tablets to explore a parallel world of data and portals. The interaction with each element and the perception and accessibility of the information creates a sense of immersion in a codified place. The QR codes are anonymous and cryptic, adding to the silent aesthetic of the space.
A giant cube of photo information stored in QR codes serves as a virtual manifesto against the filter bubble, offering a space where individuals can break free from the constraints of personalization and access a vast array of unfiltered information. The Anti-Filter Cube is a vast and constantly evolving collection of information, made up of numerous small cubes. Each of these cubes is adorned with QR codes on all six of its walls, offering truths of the world. As the center of the virtual universe, the Anti-Filter Cube serves as a beacon of truth and understanding, inviting visitors to delve into its depths and discover the hidden corners of the world. It is a place of infinite possibility and understanding, a veritable treasure trove of knowledge waiting to be explored.
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