Face Book

Face Book: Volume 1/2300 (2013)
Book, Buckram cover, hand bound with embossed lettering, 300 x 423mm
Winner of the 2013 SHU Photobook Award

After reading a news article, Stayte began to research the distressing circumstances in which without direct human influence, ‘bots’ – automated computer programmes, were responsible for the image of a deceased girl being used in an online dating advertisement.  He discovered the ease with which they collect and distribute the photography consumed online.  To investigate their capabilities, Stayte commissioned the creation of a bespoke bot to collect images and accompanying data.

Set to work on social media site Facebook, the bot collected the profile pictures and names of the first 500,000 of 1.15 Billion Facebook users with active accounts, starting with #1 – Mark Zuckerberg.  Face Book, Volume 1 of 2300, displays the collected data in chronological order.  A further 2299 titles would need to succeed this volume to complete the series and contain every Facebook user to date.

The work provides commentary on contemporary debates about online privacy and perceived control of our own self-image. The book, a physical manifestation of this debate, leads us to question our activity as individuals in the enormous online realm and therefore as modern humans.

At the Discover photobook exhibition in November 2013, Face Book was awarded first prize in the SHU Photobook Award.