In 2004 I conceived the Honey/Money project, for an important Italian call for contemporary art.
My research took place on the web, at a time when there weren't too many controls and no privacy laws, Google hadn't yet sweetened searches by banning or even obscuring certain tags and there wasn't too much talk of indexing, SEO was often "do it yourself" ...
A bit of history:
In Italy we had problems (and we still have them) for the diffusion of the internet but in “Ammerica” and in certain more “developed” countries things went faster.
1994 WebCrawler was born, the first search engine to index every single word of every page.
1996 Larry Page and Sergey Brin create BlackRub which will later take the name of GOOGLE
2009 Google introduces the CAFFEINE update.
In the decade 1999-2009 Engines like AltaVista, Yahoo, Lycos, Google have improved their algorithms to protect unsuspecting surfers…
Algorithms fascinated me and I wanted to understand, always for my interest in media plagiarism, what was happening on the web, what happened to images, how they were used, I sensed that I was witnessing a revolution.
I chose a word: Honey (the API extinction theme was dear to me and I was looking for a subject that could be linked to ecology).
The images that "emerged" from the web by typing that word surprised me. It was amazing that Honey almost always associated herself with images of sex and money. It is true that in that prehistory of the web, the "sex" tag was placed everywhere but the combination of the Money tag and images of money or pornography surprised me a bit.
It was the period of the "Paranoica" Collective for which I used a lot of pornographic images downloaded from the Internet and I had never noticed the "Honey" tag, perhaps it was just a trivial naivety.
The "spider network", the web that in Italy was starting to interest everyone and then the first social networks such as MySpace were born and spread, had a very "viscous" and sticky side like honey, obscure and hidden, there was the possibility that it was used for further inductions.
In all my installations I want to give awareness.
So I thought about making the experience of the SPIDER'S WEB and the bombardment of images consciously live.
I devised a room with four walls, on which images were projected that were changed quite quickly, the visitor entered the room barefoot and found about five cm of honey on the floor. I always create paths that stimulate the senses. The visitor was bombarded with images and moving he felt the resistance of the honey.
And then there was an aftermath: even if initially the sensation of the honey could be pleasant and playful, then you had to go out, clean yourself without water and put your shoes back on.
I wanted the visitor to really feel what could be a web trap or at least what I sensed it could be.
My project attacked the world of pornography, the world of economic speculation, the power of communication for not exactly noble purposes and maybe it made you think about bees and their possible extinction.
Also there was the copyright issue.
All the downloaded images were very explicit pornography, honey, bees, slaughter of bees, and money.
It was 2004.
There was no social media.
As it is easy to imagine, my idea was declared unfeasible, interesting but against all common sense for hygiene and safety standards. However, a French prize, set up by an art college, liked a contact found through my collectives abroad. We sent each other many emails and had solved many of the problems.
Suddenly, as happened with Paranoica, I had a great crisis of conscience: honey was food and I couldn't waste it. We thought of other materials but the fact that there was still a waste left me no choice, I gave up. Remains a testimony of a draft drawn with Word and a more recent reconstruction of how I would have liked the installation and much of the material that I had downloaded.