February 15, 2016  —  by


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“The Filter Bubble” is a term coined by Eli Pariser in his 2011 book of the same name, which designates the way Internet users are increasingly directed to a personalized information landscape through an algorithmic editing of web content. ‘Filter Bubble’ marks 89plus’s interest in translating three years of research into an exhibition format harnessing the reflective nature of its long-term inquiry. In presenting work by over 40 international artists, writers and technologists, ‘Filter Bubble’ introduces a selection of pointed responses to the perennial dilemma of blissful ignorance, paradoxically heightened by the pursuit of relevance in an ever-growing mass of data.

In 1989, the introduction of the World Wide Web carried the promise of an open, limitless and objective means of disseminating and seeking knowledge across the globe. The idea of someone’s world view being influenced by the newspaper they read or TV channel they watched seemed to have been relegated to a distant past. Over the past few years, however, the improvements of personalization have clouded the aspiration of making the Internet a window on the world, and gradually turned it into a series of individualized mirrors, reflecting one’s interest as identified by automated pattern recognition.

Today, Internet users find themselves in constant negotiation between convenience, serendipity and surveillance. Expediency takes precedence, and algorithms act as outsourced subjectivity. Through ‘Filter Bubble’, 89plus’s inquiry into the creative practices and influences of the generation who grew up with the Internet proposes a collective examination of a dialogue between what Pariser describes as the “impulsive present self” vs. the “future aspirational self”, and the ramifications for public discourse in the digital sphere.