AND 2013, Fair:
Sat 05 Oct 2013 FACT / Public Spaces / 11:00 – 18:00 / Free, drop by
Web cookies and browser fingerprints are used by companies to track the web pages you visit and build up detailed profiles of your tastes and habits. Users often have to accept cookies from online strangers before accessing each new web site, but it’s easy to forget about these digital traces.
Ben Dalton wants to give AND Fair-goers a unique tracking cookie too, but his are edible. Take your laptop or phone along to generate a personal cookie, eat it or keep it, and have a discussion about the information that browser fingerprint characteristics give away about you and your online activity.
the AND Fair is inspired by the World’s Fairs of old, where inventors could showcase new inventions and discoveries such as moving images, electricity or the fluorescent light bulb.
Toying with optical illusions, flying machines, biological probes and computer algorithms, the Fair is a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with projects that bring emerging and primitive forms of technology together in unexpected fashions.
Exhibitors at the fair will include some of AND’s favourite artists and former collaborators together with a number of inspiring, emerging practitioners who responded to our recent open call.
Abandon Normal Devices 2013
the top four advertisers in the US on mobile platforms google, facebook, pandora, twitter
I’ve summarised the presentation that I gave in Lancaster at our CX Hub meeting in December – starting to map the space of pseudonymity – in my first Creative Exchange research post.
What are the implications of ‘real name’ policies online?
In the early years of the web, the oft-quoted sentiment that “on the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog” summed up the sense of exploration and playfulness that an apparent freedom from ‘real-life’ identity offered. In recent years, however, online commerce and government sites have more and more often required linking of accounts to a single, ‘true’ identity. For example both Facebook and Google have ‘real name’ policies, requiring users to enter and use their official names, and have been enforcing these policies with greater regularity.
The arguments for online pseudonyms have already been well articulated. In exploring modern pseudonymity, I am also interested in the broader historical context of the use of fictitious names, nicknames and multiple identities. I am collecting examples of pseudonyms old and new to map out the range of uses and affordances offered. Some are ‘owned pseudonyms’ where the person and the identity they have created are widely known to be connected. Performers often choose owned pseudonyms like this. Others are ‘anonymous pseudonyms’ where someone will try to remain totally unconnected from their pseudonym. Political commentators have made use of anonymous pseudonyms to protect themselves from retribution for their writing.
Beyond the advertising potential of reducing multiple personalities to a single, well defined identity, I can see another motivation for companies like Google to prevent the use of anonymous pseudonyms – and that is simplicity. It may be just too complex a challenge, even for technologically advanced companies like Google, to attempt to maintain a guaranteed disconnection between web users and their pseudonyms. The digital tools offered by ever growing scales of computation and networked storage seem to be reducing the likelihood that a pseudonym can remains detached from its author. Indeed, modern text analysis tools have been used to revisit historical pseudonymous writing to draw out subtle features that link the real authors to their noms de plume, and approaches like these may soon be ‘outing’ more current pseudonyms online.
I have a feeling that both ‘owned’ and ‘anonymous’ forms of pseudonymity are still incredibly valuable to a functioning society.
Pseudonymity and Real Names
Those adverts for countries must be expensive. You know the ones – bland happy looking tourists wander the most inoffensive tourist highlights of your country. The kids are having fun, the wife looks adorable, the husband is glad to get away for his city desk, etc. etc.. I’m sure most ad campaigns run by countries try to save money by making their ads universal too – “We’ll just get a voice over and tag line in each local language” – but then you still have to buy TV or billboard space in every country you’re trying to draw tourists from. Plus, the problem is, by trying to appeal to everyone, every cultural nuance, you end up not very appealing to anyone.
The only exception to that rule I’ve seen is Iceland’s recent country advert offering. Perhaps ripping out your entire government and starting again allows for a country to take a few more risks. But then again, maybe it only appeals to me. Perhaps the rest of their potential tourist market is still unimpressed.
An advert produced by a local agency in each country would help, but why not go a step further? Why not let the people from each country document what they see as the best bits for their peers back home? I normally post a lot of photos to flickr – daily moments of life – same with twitter and the other media fragments of online life. When I travel my photo taking rate goes right up. I’m seeing new things everywhere, I have an eye of an outsider in each place. But my sharing of these images is held back. I don’t have my normal high bandwidth home and work internet, and my phone is roaming, so I switch off web access there too.
So my suggestion: country-wide advertising people, divert the money from your next big ad campaign in to supporting (or forcing) all of the mobile phone operators in your country to not charge visitors for roaming. I promise the tech savy ones will start producing a much greater flow of excited, holiday-mood content, just right, and pre-targeted for their friends and families back home. That’s got to be 100x better than Arnold Schwarzenegger in a suit.