"Somestic Media" is an installation comprised of three home appliances, an alarm clock, a TV set, and a radio. The trio are connected objects, purposely trapped within the boundaries of conventional media of the past century.
Each of them pulls, processes and displays specific data from a major social network. However, the three iconic devices are deprived of two-way interaction with the user, indispensable in the Internet age, due to their limited nature. These limits allow to isolate, amplify and expose the obscure and presumably frictionless communication processes, orchestrated by complex social media algorithms.The specific features to be tackled are the ‘Last Seen’ in Facebook, Instagram’s ‘Top Live’ video stream, and the mating radius in Tinder.
'LastSeen' is an alarm clock that goes off when a person of interest comes online on Facebook, and can count as long as years since their last appearance.
'SoulMate' is a radio unit that announces the names, age, distance and profile bios of potential romantic partners. It also reads emojis. A special "Follow Mode" can be accessed via a key switch, which then tells very accurate distance to your existing matches.
'BreakingViews' breaks routines by displaying unforgettable Instagram stories. You can replay a story, and a special counter shows how many times you have done so.
Who would you choose to follow and why? - What is the second most important criteria after image on dating apps? Age? Distance? Bio? - Why would you prefer a story over another? Is it the content? The person posting it?
The display of the collected data is inevitably satirical, due to the artefacts’ physical form and functionality, and of course, the quality of the transmitted content. However, it also manifests the game-changing impact social-media has towards our perception of time, distance, and transcendent importance, commonly referred to as conventional norms. The aim here is to render social media processes more tangible, perceptible and therefore accessible. Such exposure is vital for understanding how the new technologies change the way we live and socialise, and the information we take for granted.
Beyond this installation, we envision running a series of workshops, using the objects’ technical frameworks, base code and electronics. We hope to promote discussion around digital social standards, and the consequences of their leak into the physical world. In particular, we are interested in tackling topics such as digital empowerment, post-consumerism, trolling and cyberbullying, and data privacy.
Somestic Media was developed as part of Watershed's annual New Talent Residency programme which supports ambitious practitioners to develop creative technology projects. We actively support those who are just starting out, changing career direction or looking to return from a career break. With space to work within the Pervasive Media Studio, a community of peers, a project bursary, and support to make, test and discuss work, we help get ideas off the ground.