Bailey, Mathé & Hunt

Spectator interview: Marisa Olson

- What were your initial thoughts when you heard about the Digital Artist Auction and the profile transfer? (A part from “What i don’t understand is how these people can just throw it all away?”)

I’ve heard about people hacking or hijacking profiles and I’ve heard about people performatively unplugging their social media profiles (or combinations of the two), but this is new to me. I think it raises big, interesting trust issues that Lorna immediately nailed in her plea that Anthony delete their personal messages and that you further exploited in your creation of a duplicate Jeremy Bailey profile. And this trust manifests or is tested in multiple forms. What does it say about the world that one of the artists was willing to place this trust in a collector? How do your fb “friends” (what is a fb friend?) know we can trust you/them)? What matter who’s speaking?

- How much are online identities worth? How much is your online identity worth?

What is worth?
I think those questions can only be answered when ended with “on X date and time?” And then the answer is a variable of Y amount of control. Value is all always about having control. My identity (online or offline) is most valuable to me when it’s mine.

- Are digital identities art?

Everything is always already performative.
Cool idea, bro.

- How excited are you about the prospect of sending us to Cairo?

You’re going to Cairo? What are you going to do there? That’s pretty cool.
Will “you” post a postcard on my fb wall?

:)))) How does this look? Too snarky near the end?

Marisa Olson is a new media artist based in New York

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Spectator interview: Lorna Mills

- What were your initial thoughts when you heard about the Digital Artist Auction and the profile transfer? (A part from “DELETE MY FUCKING MESSAGES ANTHONY!”)

No new quotes from me, my previous statement stands.

- How much are online identities worth? How much is your online identity worth?

Mine is worth more to me than it is to you. (however there are a few identities that would be fun to destroy from the inside)

- Are digital identities art?

Yours is, and you are good. Mine is a PR Whore-Donkey machine, and I am good.

- How excited are you about the prospect of sending us to Cairo?

Delirious with joy at the thought. You’ve been all over the world recently and I think it would be good for you (and amusing for me) to know that you will stay put for at least 8 months in Cairo, Illinois.



Lorna Mills is a new media artist based in Toronto

On the origins of the auction

Now that the profile transfer has taken place and the collectors have been famous new media artists for 24h we’re documenting the performance. This is our first post. 

The rise of the auction: “Going Dark” 

The idea to auction out digital artist Facebook profiles arose during Art Hack Day Berlin which had as theme “Going Dark”. We chose to interpret the theme quite literally, as ‘going silent’ or ‘vanishing’. We had been obsessed by people who chose to disappear and the struggles they face, one of which is how to credibly establish a new, online persona. Evan Ratliff (formerly of Wired), shared his story of being a digital fugitive at the Walker Art Center a couple of years ago and we were moved by his story. (Incidentally this is also something undercover agents now have to deal with). An artist friend of ours had previously mentioned how she had deleted her Facebook account and it struck us that was a shame, since it could have come to good use elsewhere. 

Facebook sells our profiles every day

So originally it was less about art and more about solving this practical problem in a playful way. Facebook profiles are really valuable to marketeers too and we’re surprised there aren’t companies that breed profiles and sell them. In any event, Facebook is an ad-driven business and we are being sold by them everyday, we’re just shedding light on an existing practice. (Actually, at an auction value of ~$80 per profile and 1bn active users, Facebook’s astronomical valuation begins to make sense:)

Digital personas are art

From an artistic perspective, It’s striking how we perfect our digital personas more than our art. For net artists this makes sense since their Facebook presence / online personas are integral to their artistic practice. Digital identities are art works and as such they had to be sold at an auction. In addition, contrary to other digital works they are unique and uncopiable.