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The danger of new technologies.  An artist exposes influencers - and mass surveillance.

The danger of new technologies. An artist exposes influencers – and mass surveillance.

The “Follower” art project tells the story of an Instagram post.

dries deporter

An art project reveals how influencers work. Above all, the danger of mass surveillance appears.

It must be known that influencers usually present a perfect version of their lives on social media platforms like Instagram. And the fact that shots that seem spontaneous when traveling are often the result of an elaborate photo shoot shouldn’t surprise anyone in 2022.

However, the process of creating ‘content’ is not often seen as transparently as through the project ‘The Follower’ by Belgian artist Dries Deporter. He brought together the social media business and its genesis through the use of artificial intelligence, which evaluated publicly available surveillance cameras.

Involuntary look behind the scenes

Depoorter spent weeks collecting CCTV footage in public places to compare with Instagram posts made in the same places. Using publicly available facial recognition software, people appearing in both sources were identified.

Depoorter displays the result on his social media channels. An Instagram photo can be seen on the left, and a backstage video on the right, which shows, for example, how influencers try new poses with photographers until the perfect photo is found.

Influencers are just a means to an end

In order not to expose ordinary users of the project, only posts from influencers with at least 100,000 followers were evaluated. But actually Depoorter is not about influencers.

Instead, The Disciple shows just how common and simple mass surveillance is today. What Deporter was able to do as a simple artist gives an idea of ​​what secret services, private security companies, or other actors with incomparably greater resources can achieve through technology.

Politicians have also been exposed

“If you look at my previous work, you can see that I show the seriousness of new technologies. I hope to reach a lot of people by making it really easy” to me “Deputy”.

In his previous project “The Flemish Scrollers”, he had an AI program to evaluate live broadcasts of the Flemish Regional Parliament. Whenever a Member of Parliament uses their smartphone, the Twitter bot automatically sends a tweet to the politician asking them to focus on their work.