The woman I decided to focus on is Lauren McCarthy—an artist who is currently based in LA and Brooklyn and who focuses on exploring social and technological systems. She graduated from MIT with a BS in Computer Science and Art and Design and also holds an MFA from UCLA. She is also the creator of p5.js!
Her ongoing project, Follower, is a service that “follows” you. If the user is selected, they download an app and wait for a day. At the end of the day, the user is given a photo of themselves that was taken by the Follower. While obviously not an app meant for everyday use—such as facebook, gmail, twitter, etc—Follower is meant to create a more obvious relationship between a user and the idea of being under surveillance. What I really admire about this project is how it confronts the idea that people want to feel connected or have attention, like followers on twitter and instagram or friends on facebook. She brings up a good point that some people would even buy followers! A competing idea to this would be Google tracking, NSA monitoring, etc. which people tend to have a greater distaste for—but why is that? This project makes being followed feel more “real”, and really makes the user ask themselves what it meant to them.
For more information, visit Lauren’s website: http://lauren-mccarthy.com/