Network-based inter active television program
In recent months in election campaigns all over the world, the supporters of opposing parties have engaged in fiercely waged wars of images on social media. Germany’s elections have also long since ceased to be won on the street or in the traditional media—Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and other services have become the digital market place for political disputation. For Bundestagswahl, which was commissioned for the Biennale für aktuelle Fotografie, Swiss media artist Marc Lee has programmed a bot, a piece of software, that is, that filters the latest Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube posts according to the leading candidates of the parties in the election for the German Bundestag. The bot weaves the posts into a frantic live TV broadcast in which images, tweets, and videos flicker across the screen in real time, and icons in the colours of the combatants indicate their current online market value. While, as users of social networks, we only ever see variants of our own opinions mirrored back to us, Bundestagswahl confronts us with a view beyond the bounds of these echo chambers.
Text: Fabian Knierim
Bundestagswahl is a specially created version for the German federal election of the TV-Bot
One question for Marc Lee
Q Since the late 1990s you have been dealing with the exchange of information in network-based and network-oriented installations. How has the rapid development of the World Wide Web changed your work since then what is the role of images in this?
A The development is both a blessing and a curse. As humans we are becoming more and more transparent while at the same time participating in an incredible amount of knowledge and information. For example, every day more than 80 million images are posted on Instagram alone. I use this material for many of my works. In traditional photo and video art art, it used to be artists or artist collectives who decided on what we would come to know. Usergenerated content lets people from all over the world tell stories and have a voice. In this way, our lives, our hopes and wishes as well as our cultures can be reflected globally. Maybe even more successfully so than with traditional art. Besides, I love the fleetingness and transience of these pictures. Every few minutes millions of new images are created and this is a process that is symbolic of the nature of all things.