Created by Lauren McCarthy, Follower is an uncanny performance project that examines our feelings towards attention and surveillance. In the social media age, one’s importance or relevance is typically measured in online followers—as that number goes up, the level of validation we feel does too. But how would a ‘real life follower’ change those dynamics? Would it fulfill our desire to be seen, acknowledged, and connected in a more meaningful and satisfying way? Would it expose the disturbing nature of the online surveillance through government and corporations we all willingly subject ourselves to?
The project is an ongoing performance and currently Lauren is the only follower. Using NYC as a site for the project, anyone can sign up to be followed or apply to be a follower. If you have been accepted for either, you'll receive a link where to download the iOS app which if you are follower provides you with the GPS coordinates and a map of the person followed while if you are the person being followed you will receive notifications when the following has begun and when it has ended (1 day). Interestingly, the follower has to at all times keep distance from the subject and not interfere with the user's daily doings. The only contact you will have is a photo of you when the following has ended, taken by the follower.