Mapping the Oblivion


Mapping the Oblivion is a series of works researching what it means to be forgotten in a world that is built on data. Do we want to live within the margins of algorithms? Or can we achieve a state of oblivion?

This installation researches the influence of percentage certainty on our lives through her family’s Netflix account. 

Research and project description

Architecture Biennial, Venice
May 20 – Nov. 26, 2023
Palazzo Bembo

Mapping the oblivion

Everything is data. Nowadays, not just our likes, swipes and clicks but almost all of our movements are being tracked and traced. Daily, we create unimaginable piles of data and share our personal lives with companies that are unknown to most of us. In return, we are provided with services that promise to make life more efficient and effortless. It has become normal to be guided by Artificial Intelligence on where to go next, what to buy and what songs to listen to. But aren’t we relying on recommendations too easily?

Mapping the oblivion is a series of works researching the space between the right to be forgotten and the desire to be preserved. The right to be forgotten is a European right and means that you can request any company to delete your personal data. An important right that works on paper, however, poses a multitude of challenges as it is practically impossible to execute. Data infrastructures are highly complicated, and it is a demanding task to know which company knows what about you. Moreover, it raises the question of what does it mean to be forgotten in a world that is built on data?

In this installation, Janssen researches the longing to rely on data. For companies, this entails targeting a specific audience in a way they can claim the highest revenue. For people, this includes navigating the complexity and endless possibilities that this world has to offer. We like to be sure without having to decide everything ourselves and like to back up our choices with numbers and percentages. We easily outsource the responsibility for our decisions, and we like to believe that they will help us in our search for happiness. But to what extent?

This installation researches the influence of percentage certainty on our lives through her family’s Netflix account. By mapping all the personalised matches – from 55% to 99% – of herself, her parents and her grandmother, she gives insights into the oblivious gaps that appear. How will it affect our personal space?

Will you only watch a movie that is at least 78% to your liking? Listen to songs in tailored playlists? Read news that pops up in your selected feed? Dine at restaurants that match your appetite above 86% and only buy the items that are directly offered to you? Do you want this for all aspects of your life and delegate your choice of lovers, friends, education, careers and voting to statistics and probabilities? If we are banning the unpredicted and outsmarting our own intuition with models we don’t even understand, what is the purpose of being human?

Mapping the oblivion searches for the right to be forgotten while we increasingly live within the mere margins of algorithms. How do we allow the unexpected? 

Can we achieve a state of oblivion?