arebyte Gallery - London
06 / 12 / 2019 - 11 / 01 / 2020

Arebyte Gallery have announced Raised By Google, a new body of work by Bristol based artist Sarah Selby. Sarah was the final selected artist for hotel generation 2019, arebyte Gallery’s annual young artist development programme.

Raised by Google explores the impacts of current data practices on our seemingly autonomous lives, investigating to what degree our opportunities and experiences are influenced by the underlying systems of a data-driven society.

Exploring the rapidly expanding behavioural futures market highlighted by Shoshana Zuboff in her book The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, the exhibition circumvents the opacity inherent to these practices by placing the viewer within the mechanisms of “black box” algorithms that underpin our daily lives.

The show adopts processes and techniques prominent in the behavioural analytics industries such as psychographic analysis, microtargeting and the gamification of data collection. Psychographic microtargeting is a method of citizen profiling that goes beyond previous demographic segmentation by dividing groups into narrower subsets based on attitudes, interests, moods and dispositions.

This level of extreme microtargeting has been made possible by large available amounts of big data, the availability of targeted media platforms such as social media, and advances in experimental methodology such as artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Raised by Google utilises Apply Magic Sauce (AMS), software created by Cambridge University’s Psychometrics Department. Created with the intention to put the user back in control of their data, AMS makes visible what is predictable (and therefore profitable) about you through your data. Using digital footprints, AMS predicts each visitor’s psycho-demographic profile – from age and personality to intelligence and life satisfaction.

As surveillance culture is increasingly normalised and data collection becomes more subtly ingrained with the arrival of 5G and the rapidly expanding Internet of Things, we are at a critical point to initiate conversation around the process, ethics and impacts of this practice. Although big data and behavioural analysis are still in their infancy in terms of best practice and usage, the negative impacts of psychographic targeting and bias applications are already being seen in individuals and larger groups globally.

The exhibition seeks to raise questions and provoke critical thinking around what the impacts of this may be over time, when companies have access to not only our data, but our parent’s data and the data of future generations. If black-box algorithms are already playing a role in employee screening, health insurance and discerning crime risks, how will tracking this lineage over time influence predictive algorithms and their applications?

Raised by Google is a call to action for the netizens of today to set boundaries that protect the freedom and autonomy of the children of tomorrow. “Throughout history technology has provided artists with new tools of expression. Sarah Selby is pushing the boundaries of art looking outside and taking us to places that we least expected and challenging us to think.” said Kadine James, CEO and founder of The Immersive Kind

Collaborators and artists:

Joseph Allen is a Manchester based Data Scientist. Through his career as a Digital Marketer, Web Developer and Data Scientist he has seen the way we use and misuse data. Industry is so quick to ignore the needs of an individual if there can be value extracted from their data. It’s important that we use this tooling to raise awareness as a form of karmic retribution. Joe enjoys the dichotomy of applying good software engineering practices to art.

Annemiek Höcker (1994) is an Anti-Disciplinary Artist currently based in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Her work examines the field between New Media and Visual Arts and is often engaged within Critical Studies and Visual Culture. Annemiek often uses New Media as an expression tool to reflect on the rapid changes and the impact of technology on society. With a background in Design (BA) and a specialization in Critical Studies, she aims to visually communicate and expose often inaccessible research in order to trigger awareness and facilitate discussion about societal issues surrounding surveillance culture and corporate power.

Annemiek graduated from Willem de Kooning Academy in 2019 with her device-performance “Your Smartphone Is Running on the Tears and Breast Milk of a Volcano”, winning both the Drempelprijs awarded by the Municipality of Rotterdam and second prize for the Gogbot Young Blood Award.

hotel generation is a UK wide, young digital artist development programme run every year by arebyte Gallery, mentoring four shortlisted participants from outside of London through an open call and culminating in a solo exhibition for one of the artists selected by a panel of esteemed judges.

Sarah Selby is an interdisciplinary artist exploring digital culture through creative applications of emerging and pervasive media. She examines the relationship between the digital and physical through tangible objects that fuse our two worlds – exploring how they overlap, contradict and impact one another.

Sarah graduated from Interactive Arts at Manchester Metropolitan University in 2017 and was awarded the MMU Science Community Award after being selected to participate in interdisciplinary residency ‘Roche Continents’. She was also recently shortlisted for the Ashurst Emerging Artist Prize 2019 under the New Media category.