Logging into Identity
Social media users generate countless intimate stories of connection and rejection. This project highlights – in a sardonic but tender manner – the rhetoric of a first-person perspective constructed within these interfaces. The website contains scripts for monologues drawn from anonymised well-known and less well-known social media services, email providers, messengers and micro-blogging platforms.
These social media services use certain words to make us, the users, feel as if we are being taken care of by sentient, sensuous entities. We rarely wonder who the people are behind the entities. Behind the backs of code, legislation, and tech giants, we easily miss alternative options for connection. We relate to these ser’s vices on an emotional level. They are the mediators that shape our digital identity. However, the opposite might also be true: we, as users, shape theirs too. Our characteristics “bleed” into each other.
Logging into Identity presents a symbiotic, sometimes chaotic and emotionally moving, connection between the software and the user. By logging into the identity of the social media service, we share the personal connections we construct with and within them. Meanwhile, the monologue scripts reveal how the values and potential of specific social media services shape and interact with specific individuals’ identities and values. The scripts in this project are based on personal stories and the perspectives of team members Anya Shchetvina and Swaeny Nina Kersaan. Omar Adel is the main designer and critical brain of the project.
Logging into Identity a web-based project developed as part of the second edition of CODE: Reclaiming Digital Agency, a collaborative project by IMPAKT [Centre for Media Culture] (Utrecht), School of Machines, Making & Make Believe (Berlin), Werktank (Leuven) and Privacy Salon / Privacytopia (Brussels and Antwerp). CODE 2022 has come about thanks to the support of the Creative Industries Fund NL, City of Utrecht, Democracy and Media Fund, Fonds Soziokultur, Cultural Participation Fund, the Democracy and Media Fund, the Dutch Embassy in Belgium (Brussels), the Dutch Embassy in Germany (Berlin) and the Goethe Institut.
Omar Adel― Artist
Omar Adel is a multidisciplinary artist and cultural practitioner working across video, sound, photography, design, coding and performative instances. Their artistic practice draws from a subjective point of view of their realities, where they see its moments of manifestation as a series of attempts rather than moments of resolution. These attempts usually look into the complex entanglement and moments of intersection between technology, constructed environments and human cognition, three paradigms that the artist regards as the fundamental keys to understanding modern and contemporary societies. Observing this entanglement enables Adel to construct, rethink and question the complexity behind them.
Swaeny Nina Kersaan― Artist
Swaeny Nina Kersaan is an artist and researcher whose practice involves creative consultancy on digital culture, surveillance technologies, avatar creation and other modes of online self-representation. In participatory projects, performances, essays and digital artworks, Kersaan demonstrates that contending with increasingly powerful computational control is critical to ensuring agency over our digital identities. After studying graphic design in Rotterdam, Kersaan graduated from ArtEZ University of the Arts (Arnhem) and obtained her Art and Visual Culture MA at the University of Westminster (London).
Anya Shchetvina― Artist
Anya Shchetvina is a researcher of digital technologies as a part of culture. She gained her BA in Cultural Studies at the Erasmus School of Economics in Rotterdam and her MSc in Cultures of Art, Science and Technology at the University of Maastricht. Schtsch conducts research both inside and outside academia, exploring interdisciplinarity and artistic research to interrogate what it means to have knowledge of digital technologies.