Interventions in Online Adspace: Occupations, Algorithms, Orifices.

Authors: Daniel Webster*,
Topics: Cultural Geography, Cyberinfrastructure
Keywords: Advertising, Google, Resistance, Occupation, Algorithms, Orifices
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Truman, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Through ubiquitous screens and devices, online adspace has become an increasingly accepted presence in the interstices of everyday life. The algorithmic processes behind them have become a profound yet invisible challenge to how people are able to choose and act freely (or not) in contemporary societies. This paper documents (auto)ethnographic and participatory action research into normative digital adspace. Following feminist critiques of dis-embodied research and research methods, this project operates directly within Google’s digital adspace: occupying, intervening and making present orificial environments and hidden processes of asymmetric control, absence and subjectification. It presents the undertaking of a unique, collaborative art intervention with artist Michael Hanna, engaging and including a wider public and private audience such as Google algorithms, digital marketers, and members of the general public. The medium and processes of the collaborative art intervention are used to evoke the domestic, the uncanny, and the (dis)embodied to momentarily unfold Google's normative adspace into strange spaces for alternative exploration and study by its audience(s). An engaged praxis with digital space emerges that escapes beyond the simplistic clicks of digital advertising’s real-time visual and affective stimulations, and beyond academia’s objective and Scientific gaze: instead acknowledging/including/inserting multiple and fractious human curiosities, reflections, estrangements, refusals, and (bodily) experiences in/of a space constructed to exclude them. Ultimately, this paper seeks not to resolve the problematics of adspace, but to disrupt and terrorise its normative and functional depiction of (non)human being together.

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