The data proxy (2021)

A Fictional Vlog Drama

The data proxy, played by Francis Hunger, is a consultant by profession living in a fictional alternative present. Humans are expected to participate in the data production system by creating a minimum monthly amount of data.

The data authority, a government agency, regulates the data market. It watches over the data proxy’s activities, since they include data consulting, data creation and at times data manipulation, data brokering, and speculation on behalf of third parties.

Exhibition view at ACC Weimar (c) Walter Le Kon

The Format

In this near-future scenario, the data proxy promotes his services through a series of six 10-minute Vlogs on YouTube. The six episodes published every 14 days follow a larger story arc and introduce other characters, who drive the development of the data proxy’s story.

Each episode discusses the work and tools of a data proxy, thus developing a vibrant scenario of how our current world might evolve when data production becomes obligatory.

One plot involves a conflict with the data authorities. Another dramatic element is his acquaintance with Margret, a woman who runs a NGO that supports the data poor. It is, however, not a dystopic or dark look into the future, rather an exploring speculation into future materialities and qualities of data, when data becomes the new normal.

The Artwork

The work is realized as a Vlog, including interaction with comments and using fake accounts for creating controversial discussions, possibly extending into social media platforms beyond YouTube. The project is a media archeology of a potential future, a deep time of media, which is marked by an all-encompassing data production.

The artwork seeks an examination of data relate issues like privacy, big data and artificial intelligence.