Solace 2.0: A Performance in Radiation installation

Solace 2.0, an installation/ performance by MFA candidate Misha Rabinovich is on display on the 4th floor of Bird Library through May 2011. The transmedia installation encompasses books, movies, pictures, and video, and includes a computer running the Solace 2.0 Social Media Platform.
According to the artist,

The installation features several images representing various attempts by different entities to “make a name for themselves” and to be “masters of their domain” ranging from the monumental and permanent to the feeble and ephemeral. Among these images stands a computer monitor, framed in glossy black and gothic red. The monitor shows a grey map with red map markers specifically placed to outline the face of the user. As the points disappear and reappear over time the face exhibits a shimmering quality.

The points represent locations of actual real world venues (restaurants, businesses, etc) which have been registered in a geolocation game called Foursquare. To play such geolocation games, people ‘check in’ to locations they are currently at using their GPS enabled phone. Solace 2.0 checks the user into locations automatically, without the user having to go anywhere.

Social networks seek to conform individual identities into their molds in order to monetize people. The fundamental bargain presented to users of Internet-based social networks is: if you publish private information about yourself, you will reap social rewards. Those who seek attention as capital accept this bargain. But the requirement to conform one’s identity into a social network’s profile is a farce. The Internet–with its ability to robustly connect people across great distance–doesn’t reflect our physical existence but copies, fractures, and multiplies our individual identities. The Internet’s commercial power necessitates the compression of our identities into tokens of trust so that we can buy and sell. These tokens of trust are examples of our newfound disembodied, autonomous, and powerful telekinesis. Our actions online persist in time, creating our data body, which is also a shadow sometimes appearing to dance of its
own volition. Each of us is in many places at once.

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