Facebook. The original superficial website transformed and metamorphasized into something completely new and surprisingly meaningful. That is to say that Facebook has forged an entire generation of users connected together by a mere “www” on the internet. FaceBook at its prime was the main source of communication among friends and family, especially those whose loved ones moved overseas. Now, it has become a hubbub community filled with pictures, videos, games, and even companies that communicate with people from all over the world regardless of being “friends”. Through Facebook we have become exposed to so much information globally yet at the same time it still strengthens our relationship with those important to us. For example, we see a video of an amazing icecream parlour in New York, which reminds you of your good friend who you always go out to eat icecream together with. So you tag this friend or share the information with her and you start talking and reminiscing about past icecream dates or plan on a new icecream date. Also when friends update aspects of their life through Facebook, you are given an insight into their life, which fortifies the bond among one another.
In response to D.E. Wittkower’s article, “A Reply to Facebook Critics”, I understand where he is coming from. Facebook though with its own sets of problems should not be slammed by critics or put on a societal blacklist. It has served us so many boons as well as banes. Also, the idea of criticizing the application Facebook is erroneous in the sense that Facebook is not the application but the people behind it. Facebook is what is is because of the people you use it, we decide the way Facebook serves in our life whether it be to send memes to one another or if it is to get an insight into the lives of our friends who ultimately mean something to us or do not mean something to us.
“Facebook, for the most part, is people.”
D.E. Wittkower, “A Reply to Facebook Critics”
Looking through Hasan Elahi’s work a whirlwind of thoughts went through my mind. From sympathy at the assumptions made based on physical appearance to marvel at the dedication behind his piece “Tracking Transience”. To constantly and consistently document ones daily life is a very tedious task that not many people can pursue. Even when I tried the “Super Participation” micro-project, I found it very difficult to document everything from significant events to trivial habits. However, I noticed that as the day went by updating my Facebook became more natural. Hasan Elahi’s work is genuinely candid and truthful yet has a satirical touch that can be experienced by not just the artist himself but also the audience clicking onto his website.
Hasan Elahi, a normal professor at the University of Maryland, was brought into questioning at the airport due to a tip off about being a potential terrorist. He was later placed on the most wanted list. Though his innocence has been proven and he has been released from federal custody, he is still being supervised by the government. This led to surveillance art. Hasan Elahi’s surveillance art is comprised of his entire life for the the past several years, from credit card statements to locations and even phone calls. This way, not just the FBI but everyone can see and in a way serve as a witness to his story.
Hasan Elahi stated that when he would tell people he was an artist, many of them would ask him “So what medium do you use?” We have come to the age in human history where art is no longer just limited to the traditional media but has expanded to site-specific instillations to collaborative web based artworks to even experience orientated art. “Tracking Transience 2.0” incorporates the digital with human experience and observation. We as the audience get to experience Hasan Elahi’s life the way he did but yet the experience is only limited to our eyes. This in a sense is like Facebook, we are deliberately entering the website to see what someone we know well or do not know well is doing. We want to know because we care, we care about the lives of others because in a ways it relates to our own lives. And “Tracking Transience 2.0” in a way has done that– relate to our lives. To those who love to post their daily occurrences on social media to those who feel paranoid over a presence even those just like to see how others live their lives. “Tracking Transience 2.0” in a way has touched our inner desire to connect and form relationships with people.
(I cannot add an image. Every time I do, it states that there is an “HTTP error”.)