Gulls v Crows
Alluding to an idea for an App that never developed beyond fantasies of getting rich and transcending class limits, Gulls v Crows offers a picture of quotidian poverty and stress under Silicon Valley’s regime of data and digital freedom that has only begun to be questioned. Irrespective of threats to democratic governance, this exhibition drills down to the strata of individual existence, where agency is purely a virtual exercise, and one’s property is simply one’s data. Now that the carrot of middle class land ownership has been withdrawn, there is only the Sisyphean stick of somehow organizing and leveraging one’s own data for personal betterment. This impossibility occurs as the worst 20th century fears about propaganda and psychological manipulation through advertising have been implemented by the attention economy. Each click of the “awesome” button racks up other people’s profit at the cost of personal cognitive capacity and dwindling attention-perception span, forcing some individuals to emulate the advanced strategies of corporate management in a never-ending game of catch-up; with the other option being giving oneself up to the sweet rewards of addiction. Therein lies the binary status of liberty in Western Civilization, as it has evolved from Enlightenment, through Propaganda, to Fake News.