Reactor

If Likes Could Kill

by Alicia Eler on July 1, 2013

fb-like-death-640

CHICAGO — Your Facebook life won’t last forever, and you know it.

That’s the gist of Geoffrey Lillemon and Stööki’s project “Like to Death,” which was commissioned by corporate giant Adidas and confronts the idea of social media death and death on social media. The world’s largest social network may be quite literally killing us — announcements to “leave Facebook” typically end in a triumphant return, signifying a temporary online death — while at the same time, every social network platform is threatened by the overtake of another one. It is one big death network, and we’re all just a part of it.

“Like to Death” begins with a simple, ominous statement about the way social media has become a part of our psyches. To experience this art project, make sure your browsers are up-to-date; if you use Safari, enable WebGL.

As the project loads, the foreboding text on the screen reminds us of our dependency on social media — it has truly become the fifth dimension, the way to stay “connected” to everyone at all times, yet alone in front of a screen or monitor.

After waiting for death to load at a speed that will feel shockingly slow for heavy internet users, the shadow-y grim reaper figure of death appears, staff in hand. On his fingers, he wears four heads. A tiny “Like” button is positioned at the bottom of the screen. Click on it, and death suffers momentarily; we can see his pixel-y hood and long robe getting fuzzier. Over time, death will continue to disintegrate as he gets more “likes.” With a lifespan of only 20,000 likes, this spirit of social media art project will meet its demise in time.

Like to Death screengrab

Like to Death screengrab

Unlike a faulty online voting mechanism which allows users to keep refreshing the page so as to continue voting, you have to “like” death only once through your Facebook profile. Unless you hack your Facebook friends’ accounts and start “liking” death as them, the only way for death to be defeated is for more people to “like” it on their own.

“It’s art that may or may not last as long as archiving is possible,” co-creator Lillemon told TheCreatorsProject.

By the time it dies, perhaps Facebook will be as much of a graveyard as MySpace circa 2009.

“If people like it to death, then it’s gone forever,” says Lillemon. “But if they don’t like it, then it keeps on existing. So the way I see it is, if they ‘like’ it, they don’t want it to live; therefore not liking it means they like it.”

This project will continue until death keels over. “Like” it today.

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