Dear Jeff Bezos by Johannes P. Osterhoff is part of the exhibition “Print error / publishing in the digital age” proposed by Alessandro Ludovico, for the Jeu de Paume virtual space.
Establishing himself as an ‘interface artist’ Johannes P. Osterhoff is defining a territory which is bridging digital and conceptual art in its own definition. He’s using signs and mechanisms of popular digital interfaces, which can easily be considered new ‘alphabets’, to explore how much they can influence our references in reality (in both objects and processes). In Dear Jeff Bezos he focuses on the reading practices, and how they have been transformed by the Amazon Kindle. Technically each time he sets a bookmark on his device, it sends an automated email about his recent readings to Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos (and anyone who subscribe to the project mailing list). Defined as an ‘online performance’, the work builds on the discover that every bookmark set by any user is logged and covertly transmitted to Amazon. So Osterhoff decided to make this data public, devaluing the exclusivity that the corporation would retain on the reading data and kindly involving a successful and commercially aggressive CEO in his narrative. The result is all enclosed in a simple and subversive gesture, which enables a short circuit able to break the passive acceptance of constant privacy violations with an updated obsolete but incredibly effective social practice: sharing information.
Johannes P. Osterhoff
Johannes P. Osterhoff is not a media but an interface artist. Works such as the Berlin-based iPad adbusting Freedom from Porn or the Off-App-Store game Tell 2.0 deal with the user experience of closed platforms. During 2011, Osterhoff published all of his searches with Google in his first one-year performance. From 2012 to 2013 he has made his usage with the iPhone public by means of 13.757 screenshots done automatically by the iPhone itself during a second one-year performance. During Dear Jeff Bezos, his third one-year performance, he automatically tracks his reading on his jailbroken Kindle and publishes it on the web.