Abstract: This article tries to assess how people and their actions are made visible within and through computer networks. The aim is to differentiate between different modes of visibility based on the politics they support. The main difference is made between vertical visibility (i.e. the network provider sees verything) and horizontal visbility (i.e. people see each other without anyone seeing everything).
Politics of Networked Visibility
In January 2001, Franco and Eva Mattes, the artist couple by then still known as 0100101110101101.ORG, started their project “life sharing”. As they explained in the concept note: “every Internet user has free 24-7 access to [our] main computer: read texts, see images, download software, check 01's private mail, get lost in this huge data maze. ... Contents are not being periodically uploaded the way people build and maintain websites, because 0100101110101101.ORG works directly on the shared computer. The home computer has been turned into a transparent webserver, therefore users can watch in real time the "live" evolution of the work.”1 The project ran for more than 2 years without interruption.