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When Browsing Facebook Becomes Performance Art...

10 hours a day, for a week, sounds like quite a bit of internet.
August 20, 2015, 8:45pm
Image via Pixabay

For 10 hours a day, for a week, artist and savvy social hacker Lauren McCarthy, known for her online social experiments and creative programming, is executing an existential performance piece by trekking through the social media profiles of over 1,000 supporters of the The 5$ Commission Kickstarter campaign started by Electric Objects.

In April of 2016, the company behind the “computer made for art” started a crowdsourcing campaign where contributors could fill out a survey and pay a $5 fee to receive four works of art, by individual artists, made with the data they handed over.

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In the canon of art history, artwork was commissioned by the wealthy people, about the wealthy. This project and campaign, then, takes the form of a social experiment—anyone could be a part of, and receive, commissioned art. Using the data filled out in the survey, 4 artists created the pieces.

From today through the 25th, one of the artists, Lauren McCarthy, is streaming herself live, 10 hours a day, as she surfs the web through hundreds of social media platforms of all the Kickstarter campaign donors. McCarthy tells the Creators Project, “I've always dreamt of making a computer program that I could run that would instantly make a bunch of IRL friends for me. I love the anticipatory feeling o f accepting a new friend request, knowing I'm about to spend time looking through all their posts and photos back to 2004. So while I haven't come up with a completely automatic friend script yet, this performance is perhaps an attempt at one version of it.”

Thus, Friend Crawl is a unique type of performance that explores online public presence and the social dynamics of websites like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. In the project’s description, it's explained as both “an exploration of digital life, and an earnest attempt to get to know some new friends.” See for yourself by checking out the livestream of the performance from 10 AM—8 PM daily.

See more of Lauren McCarthy's work on her website.

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