Orla Kelleher


The Face Book


The Face Book is an interactive installation investigating the notion of digital trails, online surveillance and identity, with a particular connection to the social network Facebook. It highlights the fine line that exists between private and public spheres online with regard to anonymity, pseudo-anonymity and total openness.

The installation is divided into two parts – a private booth and a public space. This demonstrates the capacity within the online realm to maintain or to lose privacy, and also the illusion of control that surrounds both. The booth upholds this illusion by inviting participation (offering contrived status updates and personal details via voice recording). The scope for fashioning representations of the self here is in stark contrast with the authenticity of ‘profile pictures’ captured upon entry. Automatic ‘posting’ of these unsolicited images to the installation site mimic the lack of control we really have online and the ways in which independent mobile uploads can offer further violation in this regard.

At the separate, main installation site, the images are instantly ‘published’ and projected onto an empty book – a metaphor for the blank canvas that is a Facebook profile. The visibility of this among virtual strangers represents the scope within the Facebook network for many forms of surveillance. The mishmash of voices can be heard through headphones, leaving the observer questioning the integrity of statements and their source. This is symbolic of interactions with ‘friends’ on Facebook, the aloofness of communicating via computer screens, and how an online profile can be a mask for anyone, making us question who is really following us on Facebook...

Orla Kelleher