November 27-29 2019 – BONE Performance Art Festival, Bern

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Sound performance by Gilles Aubry and Jasmine Guffond at BONE Festival 2019 in Bern.
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Gilles Aubry and Jasmine Guffond perform with the ‘Listening Back’ Chrome browser add-on that sonifies internet cookies in real time as they browse online. By translating internet cookies into sound, the ‘Listening Back’ browser add-on provides an audible presence for hidden infrastructures that collect personal and identifying data by storing a file on one’s computer. Addressing the proliferation of ubiquitous online surveillance and the methods by which our information flows are intercepted by mechanisms of automated data collection, ‘Listening Back’ functions to expose real-time digital surveillance and consequently the ways in which our everyday relationships to being surveilled have become normalised.

By sonifying a largely invisible tracking technology ‘Listening Back’ critiques a lack of transparency inherent to online monitoring technologies and asks what does it mean, via the logic of data extraction, to be reduced to streams of data? By abstracting human bodies into data flows, online surveillance networks create profiles of the subjects of such surveillance – our data doubles. Built on our clicks, likes, searches, what we buy, watch, how long our cursor lingers on a page – our data profiles exhibit an uncanny version of ourselves similar enough to be recognisable, but distorted enough to be disturbing.

The two artists engage performatively with cookie data sounds, exploring their own “data selves” through attunement, voice, and additional sound making devices.