Site by site, you now have the power to erase the entire Internet. Now just figure out where you want to start.
Erasey Page, a new Web-based project conceived by artist Jillian Mayer in collaboration with Eric Cade Schoenborn, ask Internet users to take back their lives by erasing the Net, one site at a time. At first glance, this feels like just another gimmicky Internet spoof site, an idea that you wish you probably thought of at one point or another but were too busy surfing the Web to actually execute. But look beyond the parody feel of this project, and you'll find something that's a bit - dare we say it? - darker. Most readers of ReadWriteWeb couldn't imagine a life without the Internet, let alone what it would mean to enjoy a more "real-time reactive lifestyle."
Erasey Page isn't live to the public yet, but Mayer gave ReadWriteWeb a sneak peek. The reception for Erasey Page takes places at Miami Beach's Bass Museum of Art on April 6. The artist wanted to see reactions to the project in IRL, at the museum itself. It will be live on the Internet in a few weeks.
Mayer greets visitors to Erasey Page. She is smiling, glossy in appearance and demeanor. She opens with a few questions: "Are you tired of hearing about the Internet? Are you bored of things that end in dot-com? Do you dislike the idea of space that's cyber?" Sit and nod your head. The artist agrees: "Me too," she says.
This journey feels like a combination of a late night infomercial mixed with the tinge of a gimmicky product marketing video. But Mayer's idea sticks: Why not try experiencing a real-time reactive environment that isn't mediated by keyboards, glass and various emoticons? A life outside of the Internet and social networks is possible. Like any online game, the choice is yours.
To begin, just click her hand. And remember that you are in full control, Internet user. So before you start erasing sites, sit and think real hard about the site that you most wish wasn't on the Internet. The site that sucks away at least two hours of your day. The site you can't stop checking. The site that you have contempt for. Perhaps it's the site that you can't live without - and for that reason, you hate it.
Erasey Page aims to "make your life better" with the click of a button, much like social networks and smartphone apps promise to do. In an Internet of targeted adverting and personalized search, where you are a brand on social media and your privacy is up for sale, life without the Internet might not just be different - it could be much, much better.
As one of a team of two ReadWriteWeb writers covering Facebook (my other half in Facebook coverage is Dave Copeland), I decided that erasing it from the Internet forever would probably be a good call. I type Facebook.com into the bar, and Erasey Page finds it. Using a giant eraser, like one you would find in MS Paint, I went right ahead, literally erasing Facebook from the Internet.
Already, I am feeling less connected to my 1,000-ish Facebook friends, whom I lovingly refer to as my "Facebook Village." I rely on them for smart, informed answers to certain questions I deem important. Ah well, it's too late. They are gone.
"I think you made the right choice," Internet Robot Jillian tells me. "I would have done it, too."
After hearing her soothing, stewardess-like voice, I breathe again. I feel a sense of relief. Never again will I have to type in the Facebook.com URL, login to the world's largest social network, and hope that I have notifications waiting for me to answer. It's almost like quitting Facebook, just without the agony of actually doing it. Erasey Page took care of all that for me.
The artist tells ReadWriteWeb that the actual online experience might be different than the one described above. Stay tuned.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock and David Castillo Gallery/Bass Museum of Art.