Search engines are monitored by keyword marketing companies that collect data about search trends for commercial exploitation.
Ghostwriter can be used to infiltrate the marketing-surveillance data by running repetitive fake web searches that fools the surveillance software into believing that a sudden trend is taken place.
Users can anonymously write any sentence, submit it as a search and then run the application for a while. After a few weeks, it may begin to show up in websearch popularity lists and similar keyword based web pages, thus effectively exposing the spies.
This art project highlights the notion of writer, text and secrecy in the context of information technologies. Not only are web searches ‘written’ by anonymous internet users but subsequently, the searches are secretly recorded, saved, rewritten, sold and published – a string of ghostly events in which the meaning of ‘text’ and ‘write’ are going through a metamorphosis.
The work was commisioned by Knabstrup Kulturfabrik for the exhibition ‘VÆRK 04 – Changing Territories’, an exhibition of net art by Swedish, German and Danish artists.