End of anonymity - Art project cyberstalks people spotted on public transport

In Russia there's the fantastically creepy and unavoidable app called Findface, where you can upload an image and find that person in other images on open social networks. It was only a matter of time for someone to start using this to make a point. Enter Egor. In an interview at Bird in flight, the artist Egor Tsvetkov explains his photography idea, a project he calls "YOUR FACE IS BIG DATA". Tsvetkov has snapped images of people on the St Petersburg subway and then allowed the app to find their social media presence. It's the digital stalking of people he sees.

The way Egor explains it, advances in technology removes difficulty of identifying the person in the photo, and it gives the opportunity, literally to anyone interested, to find them online. Unaware of this, people continue to stick to the usual behaviour patterns, they don't socialize in public, but they open up their social networks online. This opens up for us to spy on strangers moments of his life through the Internet, and the digital narcissism largely defines the boundaries of private and public in our time. When people don't use privacy settings, we often provoke network stalking. It's a warning.

"In the project YOUR FACE IS BIG DATA I photographed people who were sitting in front of me in the subway, and then looked for them in social networks using open source software . So I learned a lot about a person's life without coming into personal contact, and could be compared with the real image of the internet representation."

There's tons of images at Bird In Flight, and the juxtaposition between a bored commuter staring at their phone vs the smiling images of the same subject on social media is thought provoking. We've shut down in public, and opened up online indeed.

AnonymousCoward's picture
Dabitch's picture

I hate twitter, part billionthdeux. Lots of chatter there, that sadly seemed to miss the point of this, and nothing here.

kidsleepy's picture

Most people miss the point because they don't think. That would be true if they left comments here or on twitter or FB or anywhere else. As for me, I think this is finally an example of art using social media that is actually making a point. Or rather. several points. Not just the dangers of living in a social media world and never having privacy again, but also the way in which social media has transformed our behavior.
Juxtaposing the real world images with social media images paints two very different portraits of the same person. Over on the page you linked there is a photo of a girl on the subway, probably going to work, and looking very everyday. Juxtapose that with a photo of the same girl, on social media and now she's got a cherry seductively hanging in her mouth.
Or the guy who is asleep on the subway, again looking very every day and harmless, contrasted with the same guy in front of a boxing ring, muscles bulging, looking like he's a heavy weight. I love this concept. I also hope the people who see themselves there will start to think twice about the way they represent themselves.

Dabitch's picture

The man with the bear, the soldier and the bulging muscle guy seem to already be projecting a very specific image of themselves online, as does every woman who are a prettier version of themselves in every shot. That is very interesting. I also like that the artist simply chooses to photograph whomever sits across from him, so we get this nice random selection of people.