A Life in AdWords, Algorithms & Data Exhaust.
An interview with Erica Scourti.
By Marc Garrett.
Millions are blissfully unaware of the technological forces at work behind the scenes when we use social network platforms, mobile phones and search engines. What lies behind the content of the systems we use everyday are algorithms, designed to mine and sort through all the influx of diverse data. The byproduct of this mass online activity is described by marketing companies as data exhaust and seen as a deluge of passively produced data.
Felix Stalder and Konrad Becker, editors of Deep Search: The Politics of Search Beyond Google, ask whether our autonomies are at risk as we constantly adapt and tailor our interactions to the demands of surveillance and manipulation through social sorting. We consciously and unconsciously collide with the algorithm as it affects every field of human endeavour. Deep Search illuminates the politics and power play that surround the development and use of search engines.
But, what can we learn from other explorers and their own real-life adventures in a world where a battle of consciousness between human and machine is fought out daily?
Artist Erica Scourti spent months of her life in this hazy twilight zone. I was intrigued to know more about her strange adventure and the chronicling of a life within the ad-triggering keywords of the “free” Internet marketing economy.
About Erica Scourti
Erica Scourti’s work addresses the mediation of personal and collective experience through language and technology in the net-worked regime of contemporary culture. Using autobiographical source material, as well as found text collected from the internet displaced into social space, her work explores communication, and particularly the mediated intimacy engendered by a digital paradigm. The variable status and job of the artist is humorously fore-grounded in her work, assuming alternating between the role activist, ‘always-on’ freelancer, healer of social bonds and a self-obsessed documenter of quotidian experience. http://www.ericascourti.com/art_pages/biography.html
 Deep Search. The Politics of Search Beyond Google. Editor's Konrad Becker & Felix Stalder. Publisher: Studien Verlag (Dec 2009).