Eva and Franco Mattes’s Life sharing starts off with a notion of having others explore their personal computers. They drew a comparison between their personal computers and their minds, as the computer contains numerous data that reveals their life and career.
I personally feel that the project is interesting not only because people are interested in voyeurism, but beyond that is a curiosity of seeing how other people live without having to live the repercussion themselves. I compare this to that of catharsis when people watched a film or play. But yet I find this is contradicting because in film and TV, what is shown on screen has been carefully edited to omit long and unnecessary details that doesn’t facilitate the story. When a camera is set up within a house, there is no cut and edit to drive a story. Story becomes an unknown element, characters become an unexplored territory. I think there is also a heightened sense of reality when viewers can access their mails that connect the artists to the rest of the world.
I also wonder about the extent as to how much data a person can give out. For this project when social media website didn’t exist, email was the closest thing to human connection and communication on the internet (Of course, there were also ICQ and msn messenger) However, if the project is to be carried out currently, will anyone be comfortable in sharing his whole virtual life over on the internet? This include google search results, facebook chat history, emails, transaction history etc.
Eva and Franco Mattes are right in stating that personal computers can show a person’s thought and personality, but the thought to truly make them public and accessible is still a scary thought. What if they also access your webcam and can fully see you while you are using your own personal computer? I truly think the reason why people get insecure and demand privacy and security is the fact that we are already so involved in the technology itself that our gadgets can actually reveal how much of a person we are.
As for their decision to reveal their locations with GPS, it is interesting to note that the current trend of social media have also give rise to the same actions. People usually tag themselves on Facebook (Foursquare) or Instagram or Twitter about their whereabouts and what they are doing. It seems like this generation not only get comfortable removing privacy, but they also deem it to be an important part of life – To show the world their own lives and how they are enjoying it. During the lecture there were also concerns about whether or not a person will be portraying something different as they are aware of others’ voyeurism. This is like documentary film where the presence of a camera can alter the subjects’ behavior. In social media this is very apparent, as people are eager to present their best (or worst) moments to accentuate their lives.
The artists monitored the traffic of the people who accessed their files and is aware of the demographics involved. I suppose this gives them a sense of satisfaction or encouragement to keep going. However I feel that they also accomplished, psychologically, what normal exhibitionists couldn’t do in a real life setting. The artists are able to tell which of their files and datas are popular, and viewers no longer merely view their data; They can even manipulate them or keep a copy of their own.
In all, life sharing provides an interesting commentary of the experience of sharing your personal data on computer. Even though the connection is not at all physical, the emotional and psychcological complexity of such an act can make people uneasy. It is now for us to ponder whether or not the third space has now become an exclusive space that no one would prefer anyone to intrude.