Listening Back is a research based artistic project that exposes the proliferation of ubiquitous online data surveillance. Focused on tracking cookies, Sonification will be used to translate data generated from cookies into sound, thereby providing sonic evidence of otherwise invisible monitoring infrastructures. A Plug-In that sonically notifies internet users of the tracking cookies that collect personal and identifying data will be made available for download as an extension to the Chrome and Firefox browsers. This Plug-In will enable the opportunity to listen back in real time to surveillance processes that are part of one’s everyday habitual online browsing.
Acknowledging the existence of contemporary surveillance cultures wherever personal data-capture is woven into the texture of everyday life, I’m interested in the process of sonification as acoustic intervention, and as a unique means of revealing asymmetrical relationships of power inherent to surveillance societies. The relative invisibility of digital surveillance and the proliferation of consumer modes of online surveillance has both intensified and rendered ambivalent our relationships to being surveyed. I intend to explore sound as a tool for transparency that encourages awareness and strategies to resist contemporary digital surveillance states. Research outcomes and methods for blocking online tracking will be shared in the form of an ongoing blog, along with the Plug-In on the residency website.