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‘Nine Acts of Memetic Piracy’

Material: variable

Dimensions: 1560mm x 960mm

Year: 2018

A screenshot typology of pop-up RTB advertising experienced whilst illegally streaming nine pirated movies on nine Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file sharing sites.

Every time a web page is requested from a server, a millisecond RTB (Real Time Bidding) auction occurs to deliver targetted digital advertising to the browser page that is loading. Academics and researchers have revealed that the ad tech industry tracks and surveils all users of internet browsers to generate memetic, behavioural profiles that are used in RTB transactions in order to deliver targetted advertising to billions of people every day. This series uses the illegal practice of P2P file sharing and online piracy as a lens to explore wider questions concerning the unlawful extraction, storage and trading of personal, mimetic data and as a result, the industrial-scale illegality that is evident across the $200 billion ad tech industry.

How do the machines of the ad tech industry see the memetic ‘epigenome’ of the artist and what do these machines infer as a result? Do the automated machines of the ad tech industry believe the artist is obsessed with fantasy role play games, hardcore pornography and the world’s most expensive yachts? Should these machines be able to steal and monetise the artist’s behavioural data to infer such things? Or should the piracy of this data be as illegal as the content that was viewed in the creation of this work?