Cas Spoelstra


Thumbs Against Missing Out

Cynical prosthetic to cope with the inability to make choices on the internet
The internet contains more video, images and texts then I can ever absorb. The sheer size of the available media is too vast. Whenever I am watching a video or reading a text, this expansive bulk of other content I am not having on my screen makes me uncertain; there are so many choices that certainly there must be a better choice, something more fulfilling to view.

Thumbs Against Missing Out is a cynical prosthetic that helps me make that choice, or help me overcome a possible mistake of choice.

The installation exists of two parts: an interactive element being a computer where you can browse the internet and of a non-interactive component existing of a touchscreen with numerous silicone thumbs attached.

Whenever a user is surfing the internet, he or she makes choices on to which page to go. When confronted with a page filled with links, and the user decides to click one, that is an action of going to that place as well as the choice of not going to the pages other links would have pointed to: to go somewhere is the choice to not go to other places, it is the same thing.

The installation retrieves these non-made choices and sends them to the unreachable non-interactive section, where to a maximum of 24 on made choices are confronted back to the user. The unclicked links, the unmade choices, the paths un-followed are rendered in small browser windows, being scrolled by plastic thumbs as a sort of echo of the users’ click.

What makes this prosthetic cynical is that I have not created a solution to this uncertainty; it has made the matter worse. With multiple pages being shown an exponential increase of choices are now possible, all these browsers displaying different pages contain more choices to (not) make.
It is however also soothing: at least now it is shown what would have been missed when creating a choice. These opposite perceptions create conflict.

The installation pursues this conflict so it can provide grip on the matter of missing out on entertainment and information through exaggerating choice.
Is continuously, endlessly scrolling the only way to soothe my desire of viewing the most entertaining videos and the most informative articles? Or should I overcome this yearning by admitting defeat; I can never reach this perfect page.