Emergence & Do you?

collaboration by AFK and Brosey

Photo by Arne Beck

AFK – Emergence

What is a human in the digital age? What are you worth? What are our children worth?

The digital age gave rise to sophisticated technology that has evolved faster than our ability to regulate it. It is now an integral part of our everyday lives and in many ways, enhances the human experience, but beneath many a bedazzling interfaces is an architecture engineered for our ignorance.

Most of us are aware of the metadata we provide about ourselves when we “Accept” those terms and conditions, but how many reflect over the use of this data and the epistemic inequality it creates on a global scale. Cambridge Analytica scandal was a wakeup call for many, yet this practice is the new norm. The capture of our information often bypasses our very awareness, allowing machine learning algorithms to know more about us than we realize. With enough information, they know us better than we know ourselves and with access to our psychological profiles, Surveillance Capitalists (companies that trade in “human behavioural predictions”) can use subtle and subliminal cues, rewards and punishments to influence our behaviour without us even realising it.

In the words of Shoshana Zuboff, Harvard Business School Professor and author of “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism”, – “Unequal knowledge about us produces unequal power over us”

My main intention with these pieces was to create a feeling of discomfort in the observer; an understanding that the trading in human experiences is not ok and needs addressing before we allow it to eat away at our personal sovereignty, privacy and democracy.

Not all is bleak though. Awareness is the first step to change. The blindfold has been removed and hope lies in a clear vision of the future we want for ourselves and our children. We just need to decide if we are worth more than mere stock for profit, and if so, let it be known.

Brosey – Do you?

In the painting named ‘Do You?’ Brosey uses a skyline to ask the question ‘Do you know yourself?’

Although the design is relatively simple with seemingly random colors placed throughout, the text subtly runs through the buildings and it isn’t until you take a step back and observe that clarity starts to form.

Much in the same way as approaching the question in the real world, to know yourself is to step out of yourself and see the world through the other side of the looking glass.

Collaborating with fellow artist AFK by using ‘Matrix Binary’ throughout part of the background is intended to highlight the digital age we have arrived in. It also  shows that the way we view ourselves and society around us is changing due to the exponential growth of technology, growing too fast to comprehend or know what we have gotten ourselves into.

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