The 89plus project which I co-founded and co-curate with Simon Castets investigates the first generation to have grown up with the internet—a generation that currently makes up half of the world’s population, and whose voices are only now beginning to be heard. The project is not about predicting or creating the future, but rather about bringing practitioners in different fields together through panels, books, periodicals, exhibitions, and residencies to share their insights and ideas. Thousands of artists across the world have answered our open call, uploading information about their respective projects to our platform. Since we started in 2013, we have conducted onsite research in Singapore, Rio de Janeiro, Hong Kong, Mexico City, New York, Zürich, Stockholm, Dubai, Madrid, and Cape Town, among others, creating public panels out of our conversations with local practitioners.
Through the 89plus research we learned that many are critically addressing the phenomenon of the so-called “filter bubble.” This is an algorithmic mechanism used by companies through which a user’s online experience becomes a static, ever-narrowing version of their own pre-existing preferences. It is a tool by which algorithms select online content that a user might want to see based on pre-existing data harvested from the same user, such as location, search history, and personal information. It guards users against exposure to any content that might contradict their viewpoints, therefore isolating them within a coherent, restricted ideological environment; Eli Pariser, who coined the concept, calls it a “personal ecosystem.”