Aurora Micale and Chiara Palmucci
Behance: Chiara Palmucci
Aurora Micale and Chiara Palmucci are both completing an MA in system design at ISIA (the Higher Institute for Artistic Industries) in Rome.
In their work “Incel”, Aurora Micale and Chiara Palmucci visualize profiling by showing user queries entered into a search engine. Profiling not only serves primarily to deliver personalized ads to consumers; it also presents relevant search results. By overlaying the queries and results in augmented reality, we see a picture of the traces we leave throughout the internet. Usually, the statistical methods by which we are analyzed work correctly; but sometimes they can be wrong – either by excluding important data about us, or by the statistical methods themselves having an impact on the data they produce about us. As a result, these very methods can affect the resulting classifications. It is on the basis of such flawed data that Sam Smith gradually becomes classified as an incel (or “involuntary celibate”, a term describing people unable to find a partner, who often turn such rejection into hatred or violence). The magnifying glass of the search box symbolizes the focus on details, which, however, hides the larger context.
Algorithms are capable of classifying every human being by way of more or less accurate web search analysis. However, this way of categorizing people can result in misconceptions such as the one at hand, which turned an ordinary family man into a digital misogynist, thereby reclassified as an incel.