With Every Fibre: post-media art on the decentralised web

A digital intervention taking place on job listings platforms to re-direct people to the decentralised web and challenge the monopolistic power of (and capitalist social relations encouraged by) Big Tech.

The video above displays a screen recording of the user experience, first navigating the job listings site then being re-directed to Beaker Browser where the second stage of the artwork is accessed.

About

Fibreoptics form much of the global communications infrastructure, a deep-sea submarine network that transports our messages around the world. A web of connection that co-exists with widening social divisions, polarisation and the inability to reconcile viewpoints.

Fibre-optics, a word that fuses. A metallurgy of meaning. Fibre (as used by the title of this work, ‘with every fibre of my being’, providing a reference to the embodied experience of emotion) and optics (as in the appearance of a political situation to the general public, MacMillan Dictionary).

‘With Every Fibre’ is part of a post-media artwork that explores how the age of connection may as well be the age of communication breakdown. Will ‘connection’ and ‘communication’ remain as synonymous and interchangeable as they have been previously?

Subverting the format of a job advert, a poster advertising the new role of ‘Connections Manager’ was placed on job listings websites.

The advert reads:

Are you a passionate and empathetic carer concerned about the collapse of communication and capacity for dialogue? FNS (Flawed Network Systems) is looking for a new Connections Manager to help mend and heal the divides, polarisations and breakdown of exchanges that have occurred as a result of the commodification of all human interactions.’

In the small print at the bottom, it says:

Please note, despite this position playing an essential role due to a toxic capitalist communications infrastructure, corruptive profit motives and exacerbated social hierarchies, this role is unpaid and will be unrecognised with any renumeration.’

In place of applying for the role, it directed applicants to a page on the decentralised internet, a structure in itself that challenges the power of the mainstream web and its role in perpetuating social divides. Once on the page (accessed via Beaker Browser), there is a short film combining oceanic imagery with the submarine cabling aesthetic of communications infrastructures. The soundtrack combines water-based recordings with the sound of a marketplace and vendors vying for economic transactions and deals.

Through both imagery and text, ‘With Every Fibre’ highlights the importance of care work, empathy, healing and capacity for dialogue, and how the need for these has been exacerbated by the commodification of human interactions.