Listening Back is a sounding and listening practice, a Web browser plug-in, and a research into the potential of sound to engage contemporary socio-political contexts, in particular – algorithmic surveillance.
Seamlessly embedded into our everyday Web experiences, automated processes of personal data extraction such as the cookie remain intangible to the surveilled. The relative invisibility of digital surveillance, and the proliferation of consumer modes of online surveillance has both intensified and rendered ambivalent our relationships to being surveyed.
Listening Back is a multi-channel audio-visual installation that exposes the proliferation of ubiquitous online surveillance via the real time sonification of Internet tracking cookies. Each time a cookie is inserted, deleted or updated onto the computers, a sound is triggered. This rendering sensible creates an alternate sounding of Web spaces in which to critically consider, and experience the cookie, as part of an extroadinary infrastructure of ubiquitous, automated data collection. Operating at scales that exceed human comprehension these data extraction techniques render human activity machine readable with the aim of escalating sales and increasing knowledge.
Through embodied listening, Listening Back asks: what are the impacts of digital surveillance on our core communication infrastructures? If these are compromised how are we effected personally and more broadly when organising resistance to ongoing social, racial and environmental injustices.
During her residency at TRAFO, Jasmine Guffond researches a current and very real manifestation of persistent, non-stop Web surveillance – the tracking and criminalisation of women seeking or aiding abortion in Poland and the U.S.
Jasmine Guffond (born 1972) is an artist and composer working at the interface of social, political and technical infrastructures. Her practice spans live performance, recording, sound installation and custom made browser add-on. Through the sonification of data she addresses the potential of sound to engage with contemporary political questions and engages listening as a situated knowledge practice. Interested in providing an audible presence for phenomena that lies beyond human perception, via the sonification of facial recognition algorithms, global networks, or Internet tracking cookies she questions what it means for our personal habits to be traceable, and for our identities, choices and personalities to be reduced to streams of data. Jasmine Guffond lectures at the Sound Studies and Sonic Arts at Universität der Künste in Berlin. She grew up on Gadigal Land / Sydney (Australia). She lives and works in Berlin.