More selected projects

Social Network Heist

by: Tod Supornpaibul

The social media has become a significant part of our lives in many ways good and bad but who defines the purpose and time spent on social media? How productive are you when using social media applications such as Facebook, Instagram and etc.? “Social Network Heist” is net art exploring the amount of time and the applications that a random group of people uses. The social media applications users undergo a questionnaire, exploring their thoughts shamelessly on questions such as how wisely do you think you spend your time on social media? For this piece, I wanted to look into the phrase “hiding behind social media” and the entrapment onto people.

Inspired by the piece “People staring at computers” by Kyle McDonald where pictures would be taken automatically on different devices at an Apple store as people are viewing or in this case “staring” at the computer and in result displaying the reaction later as their image were shown back to them. The results were very interesting as many tried to press ESC to exit the image taken but the piece shows that there is no escape and deleting the photo metaphorically and literally However, for my Net Art, instead of having the permission for photos, I had all my participant agreeing beforehand if they wouldn’t mind me using and collecting their photos on social media.


The willing participant’s images are taken or in another word “stolen” from Facebook even though for some I am not friends with which shows how easy it is for someone random to access your information and images. Although with permission the images are specially selected and stolen by me which they do not have a clue about. I then collect all the data through the survey and selected 35 different people to photoshop and create the art.

The number and the transparencies of the logos signifies the number of hours spent and the feedback I receive on the questionnaire. I design them individually to create a personalized feel to the image. The logos are used mostly as a censorship and a layer between the actual profile picture and our eyes. This would show the person behind trapped and mostly unrecognizable. Furthermore, I used different phones in order to capture the look from the owner’s image perspective to show other people as well as shower the owner themselves.

The photoshop process was extremely time consuming because each image was individually and uniquely designed. I was surprise that a lot of people did the survey but only 40% allowed me to use their image, however the 60% didn’t even realise that their image can also be easily taken and used without their permission. For my visualizer page, I used bootstrap carousel to display the photoshop images which is purposely to be viewed on a mobile device.

The time spent on these websites and applications needs to be exposed and shame. The image was heist from the participant but these websites and applications has also stolen precious time from us as well, ironically enough to not be able to reflect back on how much time we waste. Do we live on these platforms now? and Are we the same person in the digital world and in real life? As Kyle McDonald video suggested there is no ESC button in real life and the ESC button doesn’t escape everything on the social media…

The whole piece can be found here: