Right now, at 11:19 a.m. EST, artist Jonas Lund does not appear to be at his computer. Perhaps he’s gone to the bathroom or to get a snack or maybe he’s still asleep. Open in his browser is just one page, a pile of code at Github. You can look for yourself here at what Lund is doing at any given time online. This is his project Public Access Me, an uninterrupted, unshielded view of the artist’s entire browser-based life, including any and all social networking activities. Everything. It’s live right now in conjunction with the New Museum’s series First Look: New Art Online.
Naturally, it’s about privacy. But the take is a bit different, not so much fretting about privacy lost or about to be lost, but assuming privacy’s death is a done deal and wondering what happens after. How do we behave in a post-privacy world? What happens to the utility of the web in that world? It’s an open question and one that Lund is becoming better suited to answer than most anyone else.
If the name Jonas Lund sounds familiar, it’s probably because of his earlier 2012 project Paintshop.biz (our Q+A here), in which real-time online art collaboration gets shoved into the marketplace. That piece is a bit about transparency too: imagining artwork and its market as a most unhallowed ground in which art is created and collaborated on — by anyone — in complete public, and then offered for sale to that public.
As of this sentence, Lund is still quiet at the browser. I suspect I’ll be back, in some part to see how he handles other people’s privacy in his project, e.g. the emails and assorted private information of people he might be connecting with. Or maybe I’m just curious to see how his browsing compares to my own infinitely distracted, obsessive browsing habits.
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