"Social Network" and its accompanying research explore the importance of physical and emotional connections to the success of new media art works. By creating a digital installation which addresses and questions whether digital environments can adequately communicate emotions in a similar manner to the aura of the unique art objects discussed by Walter Benjamin in his seminal essay "Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction," I hope to understand the nature of our transformed social encounters in virtual communications such as Facebook. My research uncovers that communication through digital means can be limiting and that there are larger social repercussions to the emotional discourse in contemporary society. Can computers be used to express emotions and not just communicate information and ideas?
The Facebook Road Trip
To get each person's heart rate for my art installation I went on a road trip to visit my social network friends in person. I saw a wide variety of people in the last twenty years of my social life.