Social Technologies, an innovation lab from 2006-8, was an early foray into social media, focused around annual Social Technologies Summits, and Social Networking Unplugged, a 2008 festival event presenting twenty world premiere and UK first experiments that held up a mirror to Web 2.0.
When we interact online an electronic profile is created for each one of us and the aggregated information is used to shape services and select the products on the shelves. This in turn shapes the choices available to us, and the society we live in. This makes up the dark matter that we know is there because of its gravitational effects on visible culture.
Projects included MySpace–OurSpace–YourSpace by planb, in which an empty shop window is dressed as if it was the page of a new internet site. People can create a personal space using real objects, paper, magazine cuttings, cardboard, glue in an A5 card box, approximately 5cm deep. The window is gridded with a structure ready to house each new creation. plan b are the API of the project, working on behalf of remote users or with live users, trying to fulfil the users requests for the contents of their space. Project participants can also send messages to one another using a messaging system consisting in cards for writing on and envelopes attached to the rear of each box. The project was inspired by the assemblages of Joseph Cornell, the vitrines of Marcel Duchamp, Pollock’s Toy Theatres and Victorian shadow boxes.
One participant asked for the art group to remove their box from the window. This then led to a discussion about what it meant to ‘delete’ the ‘data.’ To remove the box from view, but save it out of sight would be equivalent to how data is managed in online social media sites. The artists decided they wanted to go further, and completely disassembled the box, replacing its contents amongst the materials available to other uses.
Friends by Aram Bartholl looks at the relationship of net data space and everyday life brought down to a classic paper friendship book involving the functionality and language of the web, made and collected by the public. It combines badges, ink stamps, a physical book, friend requests, and stamps for other social networks so that it is possible to connect people in the Friends network to their other online personae
A team of ethnographers participated and observed what happened.