This is my personal statement, it gives context to what I am interested in and is a pick into what drives me.
To grow up in Israel means to be always aware of borders. There were national borders, which changed often, and defined where you could and where you could not go. Within Israel there were borders between communities—religious and secular, North African and Eastern European, Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs, rich and poor. I have had to be aware from birth of those visible and invisible lines that separate us one from the other. Everyone had to learn this: to be safe, you must be aware of borders and stay within them. To go beyond, to not be mindful of them, is dangerous. I learned the lesson of course, but it seemed to me like there had to be a better way to live.
That may explain why I was so drawn to the Internet. It appeared to me to be a place without borders. A world where I could explore freely, meet people who were not in my specific geographic or cultural communities, and express myself without being labeled in advance. It seemed to put into practice one of the greatest lessons of the Jewish diaspora… how to stay together culturally while separated physically. In some ways, I believe, the Jewish Diaspora was the first example of a post-national society. This model failed with both the Holocaust and the founding of Israel. I hoped for the web to provide a more successful model.
In Israel I was a graphic designer and focused on web design. I grew optimistic about the possibility of a world in which there was wider understanding, dialog, cultural curiosity and openness. It may have been naive, but I was inspired and worked to bring others to this vision of a kind of utopia of information and understanding through the web.
Perhaps because of my lifelong conditioning, the more I work on the web, the more aware I become of the borders—often invisible, often subtle—that exist online. And the more I am drawn to cross them. Again it seems to me like there has got to be a better way.
I am very influenced by the Situationist movement. Like me they were constantly aware of invisible borders, but this awareness was not meant to keep the borders, but to expose, cross and break them. The concept of Dérive as described by Guy Debord is a critical method to decipher the social and political constraints of urban space. It is the principal method for exploration of our own ‘psychogeography’ – how our urban environment affects our self-perception. Today we live not only in geographical space, but also in information spaces that define our self perception.
I am interested in extending the idea of the dérive to explore the geography of information. Critical exploration can reveal the true nature of our information spaces and allow us to question their design. With my work I attempt to encourage people to challenge and renegotiate the borders of information and to challenge the way shape our world.