Mani Nilchiani and Caroline Sinders are a collaborative duo exploring the future of surveillance and networked identities in VR with their interactive narrative project “Dark Patterns.” “Dark Patterns” has previously been shown at MoMA PS1, the Weird Reality Conference at Carnegie Mellon University, and at Pioneer Works Second Sundays.
Mani Nilchiani is an artist, technologist, and musician. His work explores displacement, memory, and diasporic psyche. Nilchiani holds a masters from the Parsons School of Design’s Design and Technology Program where he has also taught. He is from Tehran, Iran and is currently based in Brooklyn.
In a socio-political landscape where sophisticated systems of data collection and analysis are restlessly at work in increasingly larger scales, it is crucial for us to critically engage with the power relations inherent to such systems. Deployed by states and corporations alike, to respectively "keep us safe" and "improve our experience" we find ourselves constantly embedded within sites of surveillance; be it physical or digital. Surveillance and surveillance technology is a part of the global infrastructure.
Dark Patterns is a speculative, transmedia project addressing the near, and immediate future of surveillance in our daily lives. Inspired by our personal experiences, such as Mani's of the 2009 Green Movement in Iran and GamerGate by Caroline Sinders. The current iteration of Dark Patterns is a VR interactive experience set in the first person. It interrogates our responses, behaviors, choices and their consequences in the face of pervasive surveillance systems which create an oppressive and abusive data economies.
Dark Patterns is, as such, shaped by research and data; from us interviewing and speaking to lawyers and experts in privacy and security, as well as data practitioners and technologists focusing on the intersections of ethics, data privacy, and security, culminating in an interactive immersive narrative.