Online Anonymity Is Explored In This Creepy Interactive Installation
Online anonymity: it’s a dubious luxury. On the one hand, it means people can highlight corruptions and injustices in the world without retribution. On the other it’s given birth to the culture of trolling, where bullying and abuse can also be practiced without retribution. But this anonymity is changing as trolls get hunted down and persecuted by the law—so in a way that anonymity is just an illusion.
Exploring our relationship with this is an installation called The Stranger by Maxence Parache and Robert Diel. As you approach what Parache calls an “interactive social experiment,” a virtual face looms at you out of the darkness, spouting Facebook status updates as you get nearer, while people’s names and their connections are displayed at the side as visuals.
Along with this, live public information that’s freely available on the web pours forth from this creepy digital entity. “It’s all about discovering and daring this giant face as you move toward.” Parache says. The visuals and sounds intensify as you get nearer and you can also enter your name via an app on your phone and listen out for the installation to whisper it (the whisper is used to reflect the gossipy ways of the internet). This presumably goes on until you finally get completely spooked and run away screaming.