Visual designer & researcher in visual communication

ReAssembling Reality

Exploring Self Portriats with Google Data

Design Research         Digital Design  /  Screen Print

If you have a Google profile you can view your assigned advertising terms through managing your Google Account and looking at your Ad Personalization. These advertising words are updated frequently and give a glimpse into a reflection of yourself through targeted advertising. The words attributed to a user’s Google behavior can seem unreal. In surrealism, the artist seeks the surreal by moving from the exterior and interior worlds. Reassembling Digital Reality is an iterative exercise that combines my Google Ad words with an exercise from Max Ernst in A Book of Surrealist Games called “Re-assembling Reality”.

The idea is to be able to make sense of the words chosen for me by Google and assemble them into visuals. Before starting this exploration I created a series of steps to try to minimize my influence. The steps also allow for this exercise to be shared with other people willing to see what critical reflection they can achieve themselves. Since the Google Ad words change frequently this iteration is an ongoing exercise. The purpose of creating the specific steps when starting the collage process was to minimize my interference into the reflection process. It would be easy to only select the words that seem the least insulting or misleading to work with. Though, the true purpose of this exploration is to view myself from my digital identity and not what I think my digital identity is. The result at first glance is hard to make sense of. It becomes a confusing and distorted self-portrait. The result is more surreal than real.

What does our digital identity look like? The accumulation of information gathered on us results in a fragmented and distorted self-reflection. I explore visualizing this reflection through art and design, with the aim to encourage critical self-reflections.