Sonic Profiles sonifies the meta-data from the twitter accounts of well-known public entities: Donald Trump, Narendra Modi, Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, YouTube, CNN, the BBC. By translating twitter meta-data into sound in real time, this multi-channel composition questions what it means, via the logic of data extraction, to be reduced to streams of data. By abstracting human bodies into data flows, online surveillance networks create profiles of the subjects of such surveillance – our data doubles. Considering the extent to which we watch each other via social media, personal identity becomes a commodity and our humanness itself is increasingly defined by our data-selves. Frequently based on the intentional disclosure of personal information by users of digital services, online surveillance algorithms are constantly fed by the very subjects they monitor. Within a culture of permanent online connectivity, who are we to these ubiquitous algorithms, and more significantly, the major tech corporations and data broker industry who program them?
Within the context of the group show The Watched, Sonic Profiles reflects upon contemporary surveillance as often digital and therefore invisible, taking the form of online computer tracking. Behind the graphical interface of Web browser, automated data capture networks rather than 'watch', collect our data. Is the notion of 'watching over' helpful or misleading in regards to contemporary modes of online monitoring that have shifted from a visceral seeing to a logic of automated data extraction? Does this shift in modes of surveillance particular to online monitoring cultures give agency to sound as a method of investigation and mode of representation?