With the proliferation of mobile and social technologies and their resulting integration into our lives, humankind is grappling with new existential questions.
Among them: Do individuals have a right to be forgotten?
Forgotten in terms of you as a discoverable digital entity – both in the most minor sense, such as online references to you in your last professional role, all the way to your presence as a social media profile.
Continually, we’re leaving digital breadcrumbs everywhere, and try as you might, you will not be able to cover your digital tracks. After all, you have to cover the “cover up” tracks as well.
But, I don’t have anything to cover up. Anything I do online, I’d do in public.
Fair enough. However, we live our lives – whether physically or virtually – within the realm of human understanding, a central part of which is human memory.
We go about daily life with the expectation that minor social and even legal infractions are mostly forgiven in the minds of others, if they don’t fade away altogether. An off-color remark, a heated response, a single poor choice, or simple misfortune will begin to dissipate as soon as it passes from the present moment. This is the nature of human memory.
Time heals all wounds right?
In the digital world however, the laws of digital memory apply. Things live on – and not just bad selfies. Technologies and services such as Forget.Me are available to assist in the process of cleaning the digital residue of individual existence. But let’s face it, there are a lot of breadcrumbs: Check-ins, status updates, mentions, tags, reviews, tweets, purchase histories, listening histories . . .
Like something out of a Philip Dick novel, the process of having aspects of our digital lives “forgotten” is increasingly being referred to, particularly in the EU, as de-listing or being de-listed.
In #RightToBeForgotten, a piece I began while in residency at Hambidge Center, I explore these and related issues . . . and some unrelated ones too. Part of an ongoing project I call the #Hashtag series, this mixed media work consists of a manufactured panel and two manufactured canvases.
What are your thoughts on the issue? Your thoughts on the artwork?
Please, leave another breadcrumb here.