Sometimes the online world reveals unsuspected parallel dimensions. This is an unknown restyle of Neural independently (and secretly as we never knew about it) made by NY-based Motion and Graphic Designer, Clarke Blackham. Very nicely made, perhaps only a bit glossier for the magazine’s line, it testifies once more how even your most familiar outcomes can have another life somewhere else.
Parodies of social networking services started to appear since the Friendster boom in the early 2000s. Anti-social networking platforms as introvertster, snubster, enemybook or isolatr playfully subverted online community dynamics targeting their shallowness as much as their “positive” and respectful protocols of interaction. The constant growth and the increasingly addictive design of Facebook pushed the critique to a new level of radicalness. The web 2.0 suicide machine and Seppukoo.com are two parody websites with a similar mission: help people to sign out from Facebook forever. The first, by Gordan Savicic, sporting a slick web 2.0 design and catchy taglines, provides a sophisticated way to automate the online identity suicide. A video of the removal process is broadcasted to the user in real time while a remote machine disconnects one friend after another. Seppukoo, by the collective les liens invisibles, presents itself as an extreme response to the commoditization of personal data driven by companies like Facebook. By “liberating digital body from any identity constriction” les liens invisibles advocate a return to the condition of anonymity, a cornerstone of early online communities. The digital seppuku is presented as a hip and potentially infectious practice, or at least that’s how it appears to the Facebook team that legally threatened the artists and applied a filter to all the links or posts containing the string “seppukoo”. But the online suicide, as the authors note, is nothing but a symbolic act: the deactivation of a profile doesn’t destroy the user’s information. Data remains stored on Facebook servers for the eternity, a wealth of fossilized gestures and relations that will fuel data mining machines for the years to come.