The Social ID Card: Social ID Bureau, 2012.
Social ID Bureau, performance at Supermarkt, Berlin 2012.
FB Resistance Workshop, Transmediale, Berlin 2010.
Tobias Leingruber: Social ID Bureau, 2012.
Tobias Leingruber is a German Communication Designer, Artist and Internet Activist. Leingruber works with critical strategies in connection to the internet and society. In this sense he creates alternative ways of working with, and performing on the web.
Leingruber is an active member of the F.A.T. Lab, whose goal is to fight for the ‘freedom of the internet’. An example of a FAT lab project is the Fake Google Street Cars (2010), which drove through Berlin under the pretense of collecting shots for Google Maps, at a time when Google Street View was under a lot of criticism in Germany. People believed that a real Google Street View Car had been hijacked driving through Berlin.
Leingruber is in general very critical towards social media and works with the possibility for the user to gain more control over his/her own individual use of these services. Leingruber’s projects can be placed in an area of social media critique, found also in the Dutch media theorist Geert Lovink’s writings and his sharp critique of (social) media practices. These critiques emerge from within and question what Lovink terms real time communication systems. These art pieces are tactical media works that reinforce critical awareness regarding social media as public space and how the user can manage these to his/her own advantage.
More Tobias Leingruber online
FB Resistance Workshop, Transmediale 2010, Berlin.
The FB Resistance Workshop is a part of the Performing the Media launch event at Supermarkt in Berlin on April 3rd 2014. In this workshop website hacking is in focus, which is closely connected to Leingruber’s work with critical strategies applied to social media and online representation.
The FB Resistance Workshops make everybody a concept designer for their own website experience. These workshops were initiated in 2010 by Leingruber and have been hosted in numerous places concerned with critical digital culture, for example at the Transmediale Festival in 2010. The workshop is an introduction to the world of hacking and during the workshops the participators do so-called browser-hacks in the form of modifications and customizations of websites and social media sites via browser add-ons and user-scripts. The focus point is on Facebook, but the strategies can be applied to the net in general. The importance is to get the users and participants to understand what it is they are using when logging on to a social media site, agreeing to the terms and conditions, and hence creating a critical user-culture.
Leingruber invites the users to perform a subversive practice and to become decision makers of their own online experiences. In this sense Leingruber creates a social media critique, which questions information power structures. Furthermore, as we also see in artist Johannes P. Osterhoff’s projects, Leingruber works in the realm of criticizing the system of mass surveillance, that we everyday are exposed to on the internet and through social media.
Leigruber’s workshop will fall into 3 parts:
1. An artist presentation of his works and practice.
2. An introduction to the technology used to do browser-hacks.
3. Participants code their own hacks.
FB Resistance website
Social ID Bureau performance, Supermarkt 2012.
Photography © Michael Wittig, Berlin.
A project that became an offspring of the resistance workshops and which has the same critique inscribed is Leingruber’s Social ID Bureau. The project is a website with documentation and a generator, as well as a performance series. During the performance held at Supermarket, Berlin in March 2012, Leingruber made physical ID cards for the visitors.
The project initially had the name Facebook ID cards, but due to legalities Leingruber had to change the name to Social ID Bureau. Even though the name has changed, the iconic blue color and the typesetting speaks for itself.
Through the physical manifestation of printing the cards in these performances, Leingruber refers to the fact that the internet is real life – as real as everything else you do. This is a point that a lot of social media users often forget when using the internet and its services.
Documentation of the generated ID-cards of the Social ID Bureau is exhibited through a new interface in the Performing the Media exhibition. Here it is possible to engage in the performative practice of the work and generate your own card via the generator, which is based on your Facebook profile ID.