In his Internet work Pic-Me, the Swiss media artist Marc Lee links the social platform Instagram with a Google Earth browser plug-in, which allows him to pinpoint the location of Instagram users who have just posted a selfie under the hashtag #me.
While the post itself is shown in a small image window, the Google Earth bird’s-eye view in the background zooms in closer and closer until it identifies the precise location of the post’s upload. The combination of Facebook’s geotagging and Google’s digital surveillance of the world, which becomes more accurate with every new version, makes even the last vestiges of anonymity in the web, which might be suggested by a fake user name or an acronym, seem obsolete. In this way, for example, the video message of an angry girlfriend to her partner leads directly to her apartment.
Through the pinpointing of the location of a post, the loss of privacy in the Internet is vividly illustrated, as is the question of what will happen to all the posted information and microstories that are collected, linked with one another and constantly re-evaluated by large Internet concerns like Google and Facebook.
(Text: Bettina Back)
Marc Lee (*1969), Knutwil, Switzerland, lives and works in Eglisau, Switzerland.
Marc Lee experiments with information and communication technology and has been creating network-oriented interactive art projects, interactive installations, media art, Internet art, performance art and video art since 1999.