Public Spaces on the Web

Unmediated mentions an interesting art experiment which demonstratest that Google Ads are not part of public space, but part of private space, like shopping malls.

“A public space or a public place is a place where anyone has a right to come without being excluded because of economic or social conditions, although this may not always be the case. One of the earliest examples of public spaces are commons. For example, no fees or paid tickets are required for entry, nor are the entrants discriminated based on background.”

Here’s the description of the experiment of Christophe Brunos:

“Christophe BrunoÂ’s online work: The Google Adwords Happening. He tried to answer the question: “how do you make money from” that had popped up on the rhizome mailinglist. He decided that heÂ’d start by losing money. So he bought some advertisement slots on google. They were not related to the key word he had bought the space for and were not mentioning any URL.

Many people saw his work. But after some time, he received a letter from Google saying something like “We think that you can do your work better, hereÂ’s a few tips: put the keyword on the title; add a clear description of your website and of course, please add the URL of your website. Bruno ignored the letter and left the ads as they were. He got another letter from google threatening him of taking down his adverts if he didnÂ’t conform to the rules. The ads went off and BrunoÂ’s attempt to create public art on the web with the pages of Google ended there. His example shows that google is a very private space.”

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