Keyvisual Crawlers in green and white
Alexander Schubert
Wed, January 06, 2021 – Sun, June 27, 2021
Museum Balcony, Online

»CRAWLERS« is an anonymous collective of social bots crawling user data and establishing an uncanny parallel social network of warped truths and stolen personal information.

The army of disguised fake identities acts like human profiles in order to scrape text, data and information from the befriended user accounts. They interact with their friends, send requests, comments and thus slowly build up a growing network. They gather information and images from the friend profiles which are then immediately transformed, altered and manipulated.

Based on this transformed data a new mirror website of the social profiles is created step by step. On this page all accounts for the crawled profiles of real humans will be recreated in a modified, strangely alienated format. Everybody who has been crawled by the bot group is from that moment on represented in the uncanny mirror network. A link will be sent to each human profile with an invitation to examine their alter ego online.

The resulting mirror representations feel close to reality but slightly off. No information is correct anymore and everything has been renamed and tempered with. Artificial intelligences are incorporated to alter, modify and enhance the information of the user profiles. Context sensitive deep-learned models are able to create half-truths and seemingly coherent alternative worlds.
The concept behind it deals with the ubiquitous behavior of undercover bot agents and the sensation of stolen personal data. The altered site is like a dark mirror site of yourself, where your identity, data and social network have been transferred to a suspicious new location. It’s a digital parallel world, a dark illegal space of uncanny parallels.

The piece runs continuously on several servers and can be visited online. Resulting profiles and the active bots are displayed in an installation format.

The exhibition is part of the project »The Intelligent Museum« and is funded by the »Kultur Digital« program of the German Federal Cultural Foundation.

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Visit the virtual presentation of »CRAWLERS«

Alexander Schubert (Concept & Artistic Head)
Steffen Lohrey (Bot Programming)
Konrad Krenzlin (AI Data Transformation)
Yeray Navarro Suarez (Front End Programming)
Juan Jaramillo Lleras (Account Handling)

ZKM Team
Yannick Hofmann (Curator)
Ralf Eger (Project Management)
Marc Schütze (Technical Project Management)
ZKM | Museums- und Ausstellungstechnik (Exhibition Setup)
Caro Mikalef (Graphic Design)

Organization / Institution
ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe

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