Variable Condition (Unicus) & Filter Bubble

Variable Condition is a project in progress that began at Vermont Studio Center this past fall. It investigates human behavior through the metaphor of color charting and pixels. Pixels make up nearly everything we look at now. Every image, print or digital, is made up of millions of them. Magnifying the images makes them pixelate, and our view of the big picture becomes myopic, distorted. We are unable to see the whole for what it is. This speaks profoundly to how we navigate our news stream and Internet, and why we seem to be unable to have nuanced conversations and we are surprised (and often upset) when we encounter a viewpoint that differs greatly from our own.

This paradigm can be attributed to the filter bubble, a phenomenon that describes the algorithms Google and other big data gatherers use to show you results, news, websites, and ads that it thinks you want to see, thereby eliminating alternative points of view or other possibilities. My web is not your web and vice versa. 

Upon completion this project will be installed as a series of paintings and large-scale pixilated digital prints depicting the paintings themselves in extreme close up. 

Read more about filter bubble.

Watch a TED Talk

Filter bubble (Wikipedia): A filter bubble is a result of a personalized search in which a website algorithm selectively guesses what information a user would like to see based on information about the user (such as location, past click behavior and search history)[1][2][3] and, as a result, users become separated from information that disagrees with their viewpoints, effectively isolating them in their own cultural or ideological bubbles.[4] The choices made by the algorithms are not transparent.