What is an Algorithmic Autobiography? It is a new literary genre.
In GhostWriter a systematic invasion of privacy is used to explore the ways in which the writing of our autobiographies change, and the new subjects which emerge in the process: algorithms.
Ghost Writer is the first publication of a new literary genre: the algorithmic autobiography.
We are never alone when we construct our autobiography: other people are always with us, with their presence, influences, relations, interactions, shaping not only our behaviours, but also what we remember, what we feel as relevant, important, worthwhile, and also changing the ways in which we express it, for whom, and the contracts we establish by expressing ourselves: what to show, what to hide, how to interpret it, how to give a form to it.
As human beings of our times, new subjects enter the scene. We constantly leave digital traces in our lives, whether we realize it or not, whether we want it or not. A number of subjects constantly keep track of these bits of ourselves, constructing multiple versions of narrations of our lives, each with different focuses, parameters, points of view, perspectives. These are, to all effects, biographies.
Even more, they are auto-biographies.
Auto, because they are automatically collected. And Auto, because we produce and express these bits of memory ourselves, in our daily lives, through our ordinary performances, like entries in an ubiquitous diary.
If we can collect all of these bits, all these episodes, all of these digital traces in our ubiquitous diary, we can imagine to produce a novel form of autobiography. Currently, multiple algorithms do exactly this, collecting all of these bits about ourselves, classifying them, organising them by time, topic, emotion, behaviour, patterns, types, focuses and more.
These algorithms are the Ghost Writers of our Autobiographies.
Thus comes GhostWriter, a new literary genre: the algorithmic autobiography.
GhostWriter explores the evolution of the uncertain boundaries of the “I” and the “self” in the age of Hyperconnectivity, opening up fundamental questions which concern the emergence of recombinant, human/not human identities; new social interactions; polymorphic, multividual identities; the emergence of the continuous present in our hyperconnected scanning of time; new forms of memories and their cultural, cognitive and anthropological consequences; shifts in privacy, data ownership and their consequences.
Commissioned by the Goethe Institute (for the Streaming Egos project)
Curated by Marco Mancuso and Filippo Lorenzin
it has been featured in the “Dall’Oggi al Domani: 24 Ore nell’Arte Contemporanea” (“From Today to Tomorrow: 24 Hours in Contemporary Art”) exhibit at the MACRO Museum in Rome.