Social Media Break Up Coordinator

2015 — Current Abuse, Loss, Politics, Social Networks

I am the creator and performer, with some research and policy collaboration from Fred Jennings. “Social Media Break Up Coordinator” is a performance piece that explores the very intertwined and interconnections of our online and offline lives. This piece has gone through three iterations since it started 2015. I am exploring the connections between our digital tools, and human intervention. Where do algorithms fail, and humans must intervene? As users of social media, people live their most beautiful, angry, complex, and complicated lives online. I am exploring a series of solutions following a break up and how to ‘coordinate’ a la a therapist or social media coordinator for an ad agency one’s social media account following this messy un-coupling of algorithmic combinations intersections of multiple people’s lives. Like an algorithm, I am creating a series of solutions that can be combined for a variety of situations- following one night stands, best friend break ups, ending abusive relationships, ghosting, and long term partner break ups, as well as a myriad of others. 

Every participant when sitting with me, as the Coordinator, signs a legal binding document drafted by my collaborator, Fred Jennings, of Tor Ekland law firm. This outlines that I am not a therapist and not held liable for damages. Then, users fill out a 21 point user quiz, which I prescribe answers out of an algorithm I hand wrote out and out less than 40 suggestions. Those suggestions can be puzzle pieces together to have the user feel like they are receiving highly personal advice, when it is in fact, algorithmically generated. 

The way I started to think about: 

romantic break up:

[ Suggestion A ] + [ Suggestion D ] + [ Suggestion F] friendship break up:

[ Suggestion D ] + [ Suggestion E ] + [ Suggestion F ]

This is a shot from one of the sessions I conducted in 2015 at Babycastles, New York City. What I learned from holding these sessions in 2015, 2017 and in 2019 is that people have a lot of anxieties about the internet and their social interactions on the internet. But, generally, people feel like they ‘shouldn’t’ be upset, and that there isn’t a place for that. Anxiety, traumas, and harm take place online, and expressing that anxiety is important.

In February 2019, I took over Babycastles again to host an entire month of Social Media Break Up Coordinator with new artwork, a video game arcade, and weekly talks featuring Fei Liu, Pamela Liou, Jaqueline Maeby, Charles Broskoski, Molly Soda as well as others. Video games installed were: Wrong Box by Molly Soda & Aquma, Museum Of The Saved Image by flan, Yet Another Exhausted Day by Candleman Games, Attack Of The Terms And Conditions by Mace486, Wonders Of The Internet by let-off-studios and Valentine Doom by DavodUgg & Seb-Zero. The games themselves, combined with the talks and performances were all meditation on the problems and anxieties within social media. I curated a series of posters art pieces on disconnecting with technology and social media, from artists and researchers like Sydette Harry, Merritt K, Helen Shewolf Tseng, Salome Asega and myself, as well as created a moving algorithm, projected on a wall, inspired by our workshops at the end of the exhibit all while still holding social media break up coordinator sessions.