Distributed Empire was a web-based, crowd-sourced, evolving dynamic portrait based on 'selfies' uploaded by the public. The work was a collaboration between Christopher Dodds, Justin Clemens and Adam Nash. It was ehibited on the large public screen at Federation Square, Melbourne in 2014, and at ISEA2013 on large public screens in Sydney and Darwin, Australia in 2013.
Federation Square, Large public screen, Melbourne, Australia. 2014
ISEA2013, Large public screens, Sydney and Darwin, Australia. 2013
In the age of global networked data, nearly everyone in the developed world has signed away their rights to privacy in exchange for the privilege of tirelessly working, for free, to produce content for a handful of massive global data-capitalist corporations. All that is solid melts into data, and such corporations delete none of it, ever, yet present nothing but the right-now, erasing history and context, and replacing it with an endless parade of banal distraction. Our experience is presented back to us in a networked digital simulation so comprehensively distracting that it actually becomes our experience, an endless now without context, pure representation, the perfect visual medium for advertising nothing but itself. Big Brother is advertising to you and you alone. Promising self-empowerment, this perfect simulation delivers nothing but an impatient desire – a need – to produce more content for itself. Distributed Empire asks participants – in the gallery and online via social networks, websites and social apps – to consider our place and role within the global network of data capital and whether resistance is even possible. Endlessly recombining the input of participants in a state-of-the-art realtime morphing composition of bewitching audiovisuals, possible only with high speed networks, Distributed Empire highlights the fragile state of the global ego in the era of massively online narcissistic consumerism.