POV: Time To Influence Your Targeted Ads
Ginevra Petrozzi (Rome, Italy) is an interdisciplinary designer and artist currently living and working in The Netherlands. Her work explores contemporary issues around care, futurity, and algorithmic governance. In this framework, she took the role of a “digital witch”, reclaiming the archetypal role of the sorceress as a healer, and as a political rebel.
POV: Time To Influence Your Targeted Ads is a companion video to POV:, the essay Ginevra Petrozzi has written for The Couch. In it, she documents a collective performance written and conducted by participants in Prophetai, a workshop Petrozzi created during the Beyond Binaries Residency in Rome. Petrozzi writes:
I started from the assumption (or as I call it - the myth) that devices are able to listen to us, and therefore base their predictions solely on what our present already looks like. Picking up on age, social standing, gender and other identifiers, algorithms produce certain futures that weave themselves into one’s decision making. For this workshop, I worked heart-to-heart with a group of female-identifying locals from the neighbourhood, discovering together our perceptions of the future and its various narrations. In the first meeting, we performed an exercise called “The perfect future”. It consisted of a series of questions about an individual, imagined, “perfect” future, and all the steps necessary to bring it to reality. The key was to speak of it in positive terms, and using only the present tense, as if it’s an already determined future. For example:
-Define your “perfect future” in positive and using the present tense (ex: not I would like to do, but I do)
-Imagine that you have reached your goal overnight: tomorrow morning, how do you realise that the transformation has taken place?
In the video, we see the participants expressing their perfect future directly to a smartphone, evoking the TikTok trend of trying to influence a recommendation algorithm by whispering into a phone. The idea that the device is a passive listener is exploited by Petrozzi, who shows that divination comes very much from the diviner.
Special thanks to the participants of the workshop.
Prophetai Workshop and Performance
Beyond Binaries Residency
Erinni Cult. Ass., Rome (IT), June 2022
Curated by Daniela Cotimbo, Arianna Forte, Cinzia Forte
Concept & Direction: Ginevra Petrozzi
Camera: Vittorio Antonacci
Audio support: Francesco Sileo
Audio Mixing: Christiaan Neeteson