Archive for the ‘lectures’ Category

Big Bang Data at Somerset House in London, other exhibitions and interviews, and 5 million + cats!

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

I Know Where Your Cat Lives will be featured at the new exhibition, Big Bang Data, opening today at Somerset House in London. This is a traveling exhibition curated by Olga Subirós and José Luis de Vicente.

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Emails, selfies, shopping transactions, Google searches, dating profiles: every day we’re producing data in huge quantities. Our online activity, alongside that of businesses and governments, has led to a massive explosion – a ‘Big Bang’ – of data.

This radical shift in the volume, variety and speed of data being produced, combined with new techniques for storage, access, and analysis, is what defines the proliferation of data. It is radically reshaping our world and is set to revolutionise everything we do.

Data today gives us new ways of doing things: from scientific research to business strategy, politics to social interaction, our new data-driven society that has the potential to be more fair, stable, and efficient and yet it also created a tools for unprecedented mass surveillance and commodification. Data access and usage rights, along with the value they comprise, are at the heart of many concerns.

Big Bang Data explores the issues surrounding the datafication of our world through the work of artists, designers, journalists and visionaries. As the data explosion accelerates, we ask if we really understand our relationship with data, and explore the meaning and implications of data for our future.

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The exhibition, which runs Dec 3, 2015—Feb 28, 2016, includes over 50 works by artists, designers and innovators, comprising also a number of authors I’ve long admired like:
Brendan Dawes, Charles Joseph Minard, David McCandless, Ellie Harrison, Eric Fischer, Erica Scourti, Eva and Franco Mattes, Fight for the Future and Demand Progress, Florence Nightingale, Forensic Architecture, Future Cities Catapult, Heather Dewey-Hagborg, Horst Ademeit, IF, Ingo Günther, Ingrid Burrington and Dan Williams, Interaction Research Studio, Goldsmiths, ITO World, Jaime Serra, James Bridle, John Snow, Jonathan Harris, Jonathan Minard, Julian Oliver, Julie Freeman, Kamel Makhloufi, Kiln, Laura Poitras, Lev Manovich and Moritz Stefaner, Lisa Jevbratt, Lise Autogena and Josh Portway, mySociety, Nesta, Nicholas Felton, Open Knowledge, OpenCorporates, Owen Mundy, Paolo Cirio and Alessandro Ludovico, Philipp Adrian, Rafael Lozano Hemmer, Ryoji Ikeda, Safecast, Stefanie Posavec and Giorgia Lupi, Tekja, TeleGeography, The Guardian, The Long Now Foundation, Thomson and Craighead, Timo Arnall, Umbrellium, William Elford, and Zach Blas

Some press is emerging already and I’ll add more images as the show opens:

Meanwhile time for a…

2015 Update on IKWYCL

Just over a year ago I launched I Know Where Your Cat Lives and it immediately went viral. I’m gracious for all the positive attention the project has received, and even more so for the reach it generated. In addition to a notable influence on research and dialogue around metadata security, the impact for individuals has been significant. Over 25% of owners of cat photos from the original sample have removed or increased privacy on their images and, even more noteworthy, nearly 60% of users have chosen to leave their photos public but have manually removed their location data from the images they shared, underlining the importance of this project to experts in the field, as well as everyone who uses social media.

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Since then I’ve found time to evaluate the project’s impact and begin to work on the conclusion. The site I shared was only a prototype, containing just one million images from the at least 15 million tagged with #cat on social media. Thanks to everyone at FSU’s Research Computing Center, and to support from Dr. Ostrander at the FSU Office of Research, I’ve made great progress in collecting and visualizing the millions of images that users have unknowingly uploaded with geolocation data. With this exhibition at Somerset House I’m uploading another large dataset to bring the total number of cats to just under 5.4 million!

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The final project will include expanding the data set to run in real time, as well as a mobile app called “Like Tinder for Cats,” and a book project which contextualizes and documents the research, the technology I developed, and most importantly, the impact of this ephemeral web-based work on industry, academia, and culture. I’m also thankful for the opportunity to work with my longtime colleague and amazing writer, Shana Berger, on the writing for the project, the first essay of which is currently under review.

Highlights from the last year

The IKWYCL prototype website has already received press in Motherboard/Vice Magazine, The New York Times, Time Magazine, The Atlantic, Wired Magazine, MSNBC, NPR, and many others. It has been featured in several international exhibitions including the Tempo Documentary Festival in Stockholm, Sweden, and numerous others like:

doclabsamples

I Know Where Your Cat Lives was nominated for a 2014 IDFA DocLab Award for Best Digital Storytelling at the International Documentary Film Association (IDFA) Festival. While ultimately the amazing Serial podcast took the prize, I was thrilled to be nominated among many great interactive documentary works including Miranda July’s conceptual app Somebody. Read more about IDFA DocLab in this review on We Make Money Not Art.

I was also excited to take part in the festival, not only as a presenter, but a mystery guest on the evening of my talk. Previously I had shared a selection of my Google searches with a team of experts who led a quiz style analysis of my search history, complete with an artist who did a rendering of what my family looked like according to my searches, and a chef who prepared food for the audience based on what my data revealed.

That same month found me giving a presentation on my work during the L2 Forum at the Morgan Library in New York City.

lisa salon

While in NYC I also spoke at the LISA (Leaders in Software and Art) Salon at Postmasters Gallery

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In May 2015 it was featured among works by Trevor Paglen and Jason Salavon in the exhibition Art In The Age Of… Planetary Computation, at the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam curated by Adam Kleinman. This was followed by an exhibit on interactive storytelling and the future of digital media at the Polish National Audiovisual Institute (NInA) in Warsaw curated by Anna Desponds.

Finally, I was very honored to be interviewed this summer for two separate European journalism projects around the cultural impact of technology.

Silvia Font published an extensive discussion which included many of my previous works for El Diario. The interview, Las fotos de tu gato en internet ponen en jaque tu privacidad (in Spanish), was part of a series that included interviews with Laura Poitras and Jacob Appelbaum.

touslesinternets

And, Charles-Henry Groult interviewed me for an ARTE web special about people shaping the culture and politics of the internet. The interview is in English but the interface elements are only in French and German

The dialog with these professionals was really gratifying. I’m so glad to have created something that is so thought-provoking, has proven impact, and yet is extremely fun to use. Thanks to everyone for the support :-)

Owen Mundy on Arte

Creativity and Technology Symposium (C.A.T.S.) at NCSU

Sunday, October 25th, 2015

This week I’m presenting at the Creativity and Technology Symposium hosted by the North Carolina State University Libraries.

Using our feline friends as a theme, we will explore a variety of topics that relate to the ever-expanding and complex work of libraries and academic institutions including: GIS-data enabled location tracking and the implications for privacy rights; the use of social media in research; how new technologies are expanding the possibilities for data gathering; and digital archiving as it relates to common computer usage and pop culture. Plus, we have a few special guests who will be paying a not-to-be-missed visit to the Libraries. All C.A.T.S. events are free and open to the public.

Track Your Cat
Researchers from NC State and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
Oct 25, 2015, 3:00–4:00 PM
At the Cameron Village Regional Library
Image Macros, Memes, and Viral Content
Amanda Brennan, Tumblr
Oct 26, 2015, 3:00–4:00 PM
At the Auditorium (Hill), D. H. Hill Library
A Life-Changing Cat
Mike Bridavsky and Lil BUB
Oct 26, 2015, 7:00–8:00 PM
At the Auditorium (Hunt), James B. Hunt Jr. Library
Animals, Technology, and Us: How the Internet is Affecting Participatory Science
A panel discussion with Dr. Rob Dunn, associate professor of biological sciences at NC State, Amanda Brennan of Tumblr, and Professor Owen Mundy of Florida State
Oct 27, 2015, 7:00–8:00 PM
At the Auditorium (Hunt), James B. Hunt Jr. Library
Using Technology to Measure Pain in Animals
Oct 28, 2015, 7:00–8:00 PM
At the South Theater (College of VM), Veterinary Medicine Library, College of Veterinary Medicine; 1060 William Moore Drive, Main CVM Administration entrance, South Theatre

UPDATE: C.A.T.S. was a success, AND I met the famous Lil Bub!

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Beautiful Data II @ Metalab at Harvard University

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

This month found me at the excellent Beautiful Data II workshop at the MetaLab at Harvard University sponsored by the Getty Foundation. Participants worked together in the Carpenter Center and Harvard Art Museum under the theme “Telling Stories About Art with Open Collections.”

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There were presentations by known visualization and museums experts, breakout sessions exploring how to represent problem data and collections, and talks by participants and Metalab staff and fellows, including a wonderful group of artists, curators, designers, and scholars in attendance.

Here are a few of the many highlights starting with this nerdy shot of me…
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Data Therapy workshop with Rahul Bhargava (slides1, slides2).

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Learning about provenance at the Harvard Art Museum (note stamp declaring Nazi property)

This spanking cat statuette from the Cooper Hewitt collection.
Colour Lens produced at Beautiful Data I.
Presentation by Seb Chan Director of Digital at Cooper Hewitt.
Memory Slam by Nick Montfort.
Meow Met Chrome extension shows cats from the Met Museum in new tabs.

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Behind the scenes of Ivan Sigal‘s Karachi Circular Railway, Harvard Art Museum Lightbox.

The Life and Death of Data by Yanni Loukissas.
Ben Rubin discussing his and works by Mario Klingemann, Ryoji Ikeda, Jer Thorp and others.
William James Twitter Bot by Rachel Boyce.


Cold Storage documentary by Jeffrey Schnapp, Cristoforo Magliozzi, Matthew Battles, et al.

Cooper Hewitt Font Specimen
Cooper Hewitt typeface by Chester Jenkins


“Unicode” by Jörg Piringer shows all 49571 displayable characters in the unicode range.

*Most photos by Metalab staff

Upcoming workshop at FSU, “I Know Where Your Cat Lives”: The Process of Mapping Big Data for Inconspicuous Trends

Monday, March 16th, 2015

I’m doing a workshop / lecture as part of the ongoing Digital Scholars digital humanities discussion group here at Florida State University. Workshop is free and open to the public.

Wednesday, March 25, 2:00-3:30 pm
Fine Arts Building (FAB) 320A [530 W. Call St. map]

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“I Know Where Your Cat Lives”: The Process of Mapping Big Data for Inconspicuous Trends

Big Data culture has its supporters and its skeptics, but it can have critical or aesthetic value even for those who are ambivalent. How is it possible, for example, to consider data as more than information — as the performance of particular behaviors, the practice of communal ideals, and the ethic motivating new media displays? Professor Owen Mundy from FSU’s College of Fine Arts invites us to take up these questions in a guided exploration of works of art that will highlight what he calls “inconspicuous trends.” Using the “I Know Where Your Cat Lives” project as a starting point, Professor Mundy will introduce us to the technical and design process for mapping big data in projects such as this one, showing us the various APIs (Application Program Interfaces) that are constructed to support them and considering the various ways we might want to visualize their results.

This session offers a hands-on demonstration and is designed with a low barrier of entry in mind. For those completely unfamiliar with APIs, this session will serve as a useful introduction, as Professor Mundy will walk us through the process of connecting to and retrieving live social media data from the Instagram API and rendering it using the Google Maps API. Participants should not worry if they do not have expertise in big data projects or are still learning the associated vocabulary. We come together to learn together, and all levels of skill will be accommodated, as will all attitudes and leanings. Desktop computers are installed in FAB 320A, but participants are welcome to bring their own laptops and wireless devices.

Participants are encouraged to read the following in advance of the meeting:

and to browse the following resources for press on Mundy’s project:

For further (future) reading:

“Data and Site: Visualizing Indexicality” lecture @ Florida State

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

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I am giving a lecture on my research tomorrow at a Florida State Department of Geography colloquium. I’ll be addressing artistic and cultural works that make use of data visualization and various forms of mapping to critique or engage issues surrounding data privacy, militarism, and surveillance. I will be giving a preview of a new web-based project involving mapping and cats. I will also talk about Representing Place, the collaborative graduate seminar I co-taught with Prof. Phil Steinberg in Geography.

“Data and Site: Visualizing Indexicality”
Owen Mundy, Assistant Professor in Art
Friday April 18, 3:30-4:30pm
DeVoe Moore Conference Center, Bellamy 150-E.

Project Presentation and Mini-Seminar: Live Project Launch, Workshop Outcomes and Talks on [Social] Media Hacking

Friday, July 27th, 2012

Tonight Tim Schwartz, Walter Langelaar, Birgit Bachler, and I share our new project. The concept has taken a turn from the original plan, but will be exciting nonetheless.

Project Presentation and Mini-Seminar: Live Project Launch, Workshop Outcomes and Talks on [Social] Media Hacking
Friday, July 27, 2012

Tonight we launch the new version of “Give Me My Data!”, a project that together with Artists In Residence Tim C. Schwartz and Owen Mundy was revised and revived in WORM’s moddr_lab.

Give Me My Data offers functionality to its users with which they can retrieve and backup data and files from several key social networks; partly designed as a backup tool moreover targeted at networks that completely lack these functions.

Besides launching the project and am in-depth presentation by the artists, Walter Langelaar of WORM will give an introduction and overview of similar (art)works and earlier projects that came out of WORMs studios like the “Web2.0 Suicide Machine”.

Further more we’ll have presentations of current and ongoing projects from the lab, like Birgit Bachler’s ‘online social gardening’ platform “Talk To The Plant”, the Force of Freedom (Roel Roscam Abbing and Micha Prinsen) present “partsba.se”, and Geert Lovink talks about the “Unlike Us” initiative. The last addition to tonights programme is a presentation by Greenhost.nl on their very excellent RePress project; a WordPress plugin that automagically converts your site to a proxy-server countering censorship on the internet!

In conclusion there will be an open Q&A and panel discussion moderated by Florian Cramer of Creating010.

Projects & Speakers

Florian Cramer – Creating010
Florian Cramer, is a reader and programme director at the applied research center Creating 010 at Hogeschool Rotterdam, The Netherlands. he is a critical writer on arts, culture and information technology. Recent publications include: Exe.cut(up)able statements: Poetische Kalküle und Phantasmen des selbstausführenden Texts, Wilhelm Fink, 201.

Unlike Us / Geert Lovink
The aim of Unlike Us is to establish a research network of artists, designers, scholars, activists and programmers who work on ‘alternatives in social media’. Through workshops, conferences, online dialogues and publications, Unlike Us intends to both analyze the economic and cultural aspects of dominant social media platforms and to propagate the further development and proliferation of alternative, decentralized social media software.

Tim C. Schwartz – moddr_/WORM Artist in Residence
Tim Schwartz grew up in St. Louis, MO. He received a BA in Physics from Wesleyan University and an MFA in Visual Arts from the University of California, San Diego. In January 2010, he developed a technology to help reunited missing people affected by the earthquake in Haiti and now co-runs an organization dealing with family reunification. Last year Schwartz spent four months traveling the country in a mobile research laboratory investigating what is lost as archives become digital.

Birgit Bachler – moddr_/WORM
Birgit is an Austrian artist living and working in Rotterdam/NL.
She graduated as BA in Information Design / Media & Interactiondesign at the Universityof Applied Sciences in Graz/AT and is a recent graduate of the MA Networked Media at Piet Zwart Institute Rotterdam. She has a background in interactive, audiovisual media and programming. 
Her interests focus on the influence of new media on our everyday lives and the similarities and differences between human and computational behavior.

RePress / Greenhost.nl
“This plugin was made in response to the ongoing limitation of the Open Web. In the dawn of 2012 we found ourselves confronted with a court-ruling blocking the Piratebay.org in the Netherlands. On the other side of the ocean new laws are being discussed to curtail web-freedom even further.”

We zijn pioneer in groene hosting. We ontwikkelden een innovatief energiebesparend hostingplatform waardoor we 70% minder energie gebruiken dan andere hosters. Onze servers staat bij Evoswitch, het meest duurzame datacenter van Nederland.

Owen Mundy – moddr_/WORM Artist in Residence
Owen Mundy is an artist, designer, and programmer who investigates public space and its relationship to data. His artwork highlights inconspicuous trends and offers tools to make hackers out of everyday users. He has an MFA in Visual Art from the University of California, San Diego and is an Assistant Professor of Art at Florida State University.

partsba.se / Force Of Freedom
At partsba.se you can upload, share and download digital designs for real physical products. Partsba.se allows you to share designs of any nature, whether these designs are copyrighted or dangerous. Unlike other websites partsba.se does not claim any rights of your designs once you upload them.In the near future partsba.se will run on a fully secure and anonymous server.

We believe that users should be free to reverse engineer any everyday objects that surround them. Either to improve these objects, customize them, repair them or just to understand them.

The Force Of Freedom is a Rotterdam based collective founded by Micha Prinsen and Roel Roscam Abbing in 2009. Researching ways in which we can relate to things that happen on-line.

Kaarten
De volgende kaarten zijn beschikbaar:
Normaal 
Voorverkoop: € 5.00
Deurverkoop: € 5.00

Locatie
WORM
Boomgaardsstraat 71
3012 XA Rotterdam

Give Me My Data API Hacking Masterclass

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

Give Me My Data API Hacking Masterclass
Thursday, July 27, 2012

A ‘hands-on’ workshop with technical and theoretical overview of contemporary ‘Application Programming Interfaces’ (API’s) of large social networks, en how to use these for your own project or application.

We will cover the ins and outs of creating Facebook apps, web applications, and how to play with the Twitter, Foursquare, Flickr and Instagram APIs.

With WORM’s current ‘Artists In Residence’ Tim C. Schwartz and Owen Mundy you’ll learn from a programmers perspective how to approach your target network, to subsequently make it do what you need it to…

As an example you can think of Owen’s project “Give Me My Data” or WORM’s previous release of the “Web2.0 Suicide Machine”

No specific technical skills required, but a curious mind towards the ins&outs of social networking is a must!

[EN] buy your ticket online or send your resrvation tomoddr@worm.org,

Participation is limited so act fast!
– reduced/discount tickets available for WORM volunteers & students (with ID)

Normaal 
Voorverkoop: € 15.00
Deurverkoop: € 15.00
Normaal reductie
Voorverkoop: € 10.00
Deurverkoop: € 10.00

Location: WORM, Boomgaardsstraat 71, 3012 XA Rotterdam

“Disrupt this Session”: Rebellion in Art Practices Today (today at CAA Los Angeles)

Saturday, February 25th, 2012

I’m participating a panel today at the College Art Association conference in Los Angeles. Sounds like it might be lively.

“Disrupt this Session”: Rebellion in Art Practices Today
Saturday, February 25, 9:30 AM–12:00 PM
Concourse Meeting Room 403B, Level 2, Los Angeles Convention Center
Chair: Wendy DesChene, Auburn University

WTF: It’s Only a Sticker
Catherine Tedford, St. Lawrence University

Strategies of Resistance in Contemporary Art
Selene Preciado, Museum of Latin American Art

Unauthorized Autonomy, Invisible Venue
Christian L. Frock, Invisible Venue

Monsantra: A New Agricultural Revolution
Jeff Schmuki, Plantbot Genetics

Your Art Here, Camp La Jolla Military Park, and Give Me My Data
Owen Mundy, Florida State University

Give Me My Data! FSU Digital Scholars group

Monday, November 28th, 2011

I am speaking about Give Me My Data at Florida State University’s Digital Scholars group, which is coordinated by Paul Fyfe, Assistant Professor of English, History of Text Technologies hott.fsu.edu

Give Me My Data!
Thursday, December 1, 1:00-2:00 pm
Williams Building 013 (bottom floor), aka the English Common Room
*please note different location*

Please join us for a presentation by Owen Mundy: artist, software designer, and scholar of surveillance cultures from the Stasi to contemporary social networking platforms. Professor Mundy will quickly tour us through his recent research and related project “Give Me My Data,” an application “that helps users export their data out of Facebook for reuse in visualizations, archives, or any possible method of digital storytelling” (http://givememydata.com/). Join us for a stimulating presentation and discussion to follow!

Art Meets Radical Openness + Give Me My Data: A Short History

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

I’ve just returned from Linz, Austria, where I attended the art and technology festival/conference/exhibition called Art Meets Radical Openness (LiWoLi 2011). It is put on and hosted by Ushi Reiter and others of servus.at, and Martin Kaltenbrunner (creator of Reactable) and others at the Kunst Universität Linz.

While I was here I met a lot of friendly and engaging people, and saw some great works, talks, and performances. I also gave a paper about Give Me My Data, titled, “The Self-Indulgence of Closed Systems.” The presentation was about my current research into historic and contemporary modes of surveillance, ensuing privacy issues, and examples of resistance to these modes of data gathering. It was part the Naked on Pluto lecture series, organized by the cheery Marloes de Valk.

I also conducted a 2-day workshop, “Freedom for Our Files: Creative Reuse of Personal Data,” where I shared information and examples on how to go about data scraping and spidering, reuse and visualization, and using the Facebook API for all of the same, for creative or experimental purposes. I’ve posted some of the code and content from FFOF already.

One important motivation for my attendance was to meet programmers who might be interested in working with me on the more technical aspects of upgrading Give Me My Data to the new Facebook Graph API and finding a way around undocumented data limits imposed by Facebook that my users continue encountering.

Give Me My Data: A Short History

I thought I would give a little bit of a background here, about Give Me My Data, for those interested in its development and other related projects.

In 2008 I finished my Masters of Fine Arts at the University of California, San Diego with a thesis project titled Camp La Jolla Military Park. It was a fictional national park which documented the history and ongoing collaboration between the university with the defense industry. I created a custom content management system (PHP, MySQL, Google Maps API) and formed a group of collaborators to enter data in the system documenting relationships. The project exists now as a series of brochures and website which mimics the national park website and describes the research we conducted. I also gave tours of the “park” (campus) where technology was being developed for defense contractors and other sites with related interest.

The following year, while working during my first year as an assistant professor at Florida State University, I described and began developing aspects of a project I temporarily titled Automata. The project, which was a finalist in 2009 for the Rhizome Commission, proposed to use technology to visualize relationships in which there might exist ethical contradictions, but are difficult to discern for all the actors involved. An example of an ethical contradiction might be collaborations between the defense industry and educational institutions which encourage students to develop technology used to harm other human beings. I proposed to do this through various automated web spiders, semantic analysis, and finally visualizations and other interfaces to the data.

While working on Automata, which was named to reference the automation of the documentation Camp La Jolla performed, I was invited to MIT by Chris Csikszentmihályi, Research Scientist at the MediaLab and Director of Center for Future Civic Media at MIT, to discuss the project with members of his Center for Future Civic Media.

Later in 2009, while planning how I might visualize the network data from Automata, rather than creating the content from scratch I decided to use my Facebook contacts as a test subject. Since there was no application which exported data in various reusable formats, especially one which arranged the contacts into a format which described relationships, I created my own.

This application, live since October 2009, would soon became very popular in its own right. In late April 2010, Facebook made a change to the way they allowed users to present information about themselves. Previously entered user data was suddenly aggregated without permission in order to encourage strangers with common interests to form groups. This slight change in policy caused an uproar within the Facebook community because it attempted to force people together without regard to individual privacy.

Many Facebook users were originally attracted to the site because of its levels of privacy and therefore found this change to be manipulative and deeply disturbing. Further, users were no longer able to access or change this information because it had been incorporated into a larger structure. In their article, Facebook App Brings Back Data, May 1, 2010, The New York Times documented how my application allowed users to regain access to this and other information hidden behind the Facebook interface.

At this time, Facebook (still) did not feature a method to export your data for any purpose. In November 2010, likely influenced by Give Me My Data, Facebook finally added a way for users to export their profile data as a series of HTML pages. I believe their motivation originates in part with my application, and points to the effectiveness of such forms of public art / creative resistance to reach out beyond the art world and contribute to society in lasting ways.

What Now?

So in conclusion, I created Give Me My Data while working on projects related in concept and execution. While I have paused my work on Automata you can see some sitemap visualizations from the project in a series called Firing Blind.

As for the status of Give Me My Data, I developed it using the Facebook REST API, which will be deprecated soon. It uses both REST and FQL (Facebook Query Language) calls to help users access a variety of types and formats of their data. I’m working now to put the project on Github, thereby making the code open source, and also to invite others to help to upgrade the data retrieval method to the Facebook Graph API, and to improve existing code that reformats the data from JSON to XML, CSV, GraphML, Dot, and other popular data formats. Now that I have a handful of business cards and new acquaintances I’m looking forward to moving forward. Please get in touch if you are interested in contributing.