Digital Print on Foamboard. Courtesy of the artist
Vadlan Joler is interested in exploring what he calls the invisible infrastructure of the Internet. Together with a multidisciplinary team that includes experts on Internet forensics and data visualization from the Share Lab –a project he runs in Serbia– he has conducted research on the reach and impact of Facebook’s data collection backbone.
Black and white prints selected from the many digital graphics conforming his study shed light on the potential use and misuse of the 1.6 billion Facebook users’ data (likes, profession, friends, associations, etc.) that the company collects. By combining numbers and facts with methods of investigative journalism and critical media theory, the research reveals potential destinations of this information –in his own words, it “maps how our behavior is transformed into profit.”
Considered the most comprehensive of its kind so far, Joler’s research feeds the discussion on the need for algorithmic transparency – ie. the access and power of decision of Internet users on the governing Internet rules and behaviors. As a professor of New Media at the University of Novi Sad in Serbia, Vladan brings the conversation to an academic setting. This is an opportunity to go beyond the questions of cyber activism, economy and privacy into the social, political and environmental implications of this phenomenon.