'Cell' is the product of a collaboration between Keiichi Matsuda and James Alliban on a commission for the Alpha-Ville Festival. When researching for another project, Matsuda made a print out of his online presence - website, blog, twitter feeds, etc - which got him thinking 'about the ideas of identity broadcasting, and my 'digital aura'; namely the information that we link to ourselves online... [we are] well versed in the art of identity construction. ... Before social media, our tools for telling people about ourselves were quite limitedl we could dress a certain way, drive a particular car, or try to propagate a reputation. ... [We] turn our private selves into sites for tuning and curation. ... I broadcast, therefore I am. ... [Our] mediated online communications are starting to shape not only how others see us, but also how we see ourselves.' (taken from Matsuda's post on the project)
The idea behind Cell is the hint of a future where we'll be completely linked with our digital selves, our lives lived fully in public, with our 'digital aura' permanently on display. The artists hope that their film will inspire questions about whether we can still separate ourselves from our online presence, from the way we curate ourselves, and what we consequently believe about ourselves from this. It's an interesting idea, and one that seems to becoming increasingly relevant. Facebook becomes increasingly demanding for our information; my workplaces, where I've travelled to, asking me who I'm with and where I am. A useful social tool has become, as the jokes say, 'like an over protective, paranoid girlfriend' (though I'm not fond of the gender stereotyping in that joke). The film itself is strangely captivating (a worrying sign about our fascination with the internet information, maybe?) and you can see people reaching out to touch it. Have a look at the other videos too: the design, the technology, and the installation at Alpha-Ville.