Experiments in Networked Interdividualism
Declarations of Interdependence critiques the centrality of the individual in Western society, and looks particularly at how social media and human-computer interfaces reinforce this worldview.
The individual (her self-interest, self-ownership, and self-agency) has been embedded unquestioningly as the node-level building block of the systems we inhabit: interfaces, networks, nations… The Internet was to usher in a new era; creating utopian conditions for a cybernetic post-individualism. Instead, the contemporary Internet is an ideological Frankenstein: globally-connected collectivism awkwardly fused with neoliberal individualism. We are more interconnected than ever before but our interactions and experiences are discretely individual: radically tailored and meticulously bespoke.
This Interdividualism places the individual at the centre of a new economy of information, where personal data and self-expression become currency, and market-practices are applied to social relations. The self/citizen/user/agent is repositioned as the pivotal hub in their customised version of the network, which overlaps and interconnects with other network instances, providing every node with a perspective of connectedness that is centred around the individual.
This body of work explores the complexities of this Networked Interdividualism, questioning User-Centered Design's assumption that agency must always lie with the individual. A series of critical prototypes, collaborative experiments, and self-effacing interactions probe, question, and provide alternative models of interaction in response to these new ‘social’ spaces.