Lauren McCarthy is an artist based in Los Angeles whose work explores the social and technological systems and structures for being a person and interacting with other people. Lauren has exhibited at Ars Electronica, Conflux Festival, SIGGRAPH, LACMA, and the Japan Media Arts Festival, and worked on installations for the London Eye, US Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She is an Assistant Professor at UCLA Design Media Arts, and was previously a resident at CMU STUDIO for Creative Inquiry, Eyebeam, and Ars Electronica / QUT TRANSMIT3. She is the lead of the p5.js project.
Follower is a mobile app based performance art piece. Follower acts as service that provides a real life follower for day. In order to be followed, you answer two questions: Why do you want to be followed? Why should someone follow you?
If selected, you’re given an app to install. The following lasts one day; you don't know when it will happen. At the end, you’re left with one photo of you, taken by your Follower. The Follower stays just out of sight, but within your consciousness.
What is the relationship between attention and surveillance? There are sites you can go to to buy online followers, $10 can get you 1000 followers. We have this intense desire to be seen, to feel connected. How does this fit with our fear of surveillance? We imagine "the man" or Google or the government watching us, but does it feel different if we know it's a real live human?