Digital Panopticon, Art au Centre, Liège 2021
Try for a moment to recall all your online activities of these last days. What’s impossible for you is at the heart of Google’s business plan. Unlike you, the company remembers every word you searched, every email you sent and each route you found thanks to its apps. What Google knows about you, me and the entire world, all secret services of the world can only dream of. Similar to George Orwell's "Big Brother", it is through the „telescreens" of our computers and smartphones that Google observes us.
Orwell installed his famous dystopia of a surveillance state in 1984. One year later, I was born in a country that for decades was shaped by right and left state surveillance. I thus often wonder what a totalitarian state would do with all the personal data that Google currently possesses. How will these digital traces of the everyday lives of millions of people be used, now and in the future?
My installation gathers some of the information ( location data, photographs, search histories) that I unconsciously injected into the Google universe during a day in New York. There are fragments of what I really did, saw and experienced on 20/3/2019, but also data that was incorrectly calculated by Google. Places that I have never visited but which are nevertheless part of my history. Inside the shop window display these traces of my (fictitious) life are guarded by eyes, reminiscent of icons to disable/enable cookies. Each passer-by is both observed and reflected in these eyes.
The philosopher Byung-Chul Han states that, through our seemingly harmless online activities, we actively take part in constructing a new form of digital panopticon, without even realizing it. Since contemporary power structures are friendly and seductive instead of repressive, they are all the more difficult to recognize and to criticize. Lilly Lulay 2021
New York, 2020, moving collage 7’43 min video loop
Latex Painting, 34 x 24 cm