Personal Depersonalization System

Every phrase you search, every link you click, and every path you follow is databased, profiled, and indexed so that Google and other data tracking companies can develop a refined portrait of who they think you are—or more importantly, what they think you’ll buy. As a result, there is no longer a standard Google; the Google you see is personalized just for you and is different from the one anyone else sees. My reaction to this is an automated query machine that depersonalizes my own profile by hiding my real interests and inclinations within a sea of random noise.

Personal Depersonalization System (2011)
demonstration video
installation for computer, display, and custom software

In an exhibition space this work runs live, grabbing words from Webster’s 1934 Second International dictionary (the most recent public domain dictionary), searching for them, and selecting one of the results to visit. It also changes its locations occasionally, grabbing a new zip code from the US Census Bureau’s zip code database.

Patch Adams checking out Personal Depersonalization System at Figure One

Personal Depersonalization System (2011)
Installation view at Figure One

For background information on this topic, I recommend you read Eli Pariser’s new book titled The Filter Bubble: What the Internet is Hiding From You. You can also check out his TED talk on the subject.

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