O P E N is very pleased to announce the second exhibition in 2021:“Refuse to be Human” by !Mediengruppe Bitnik. The exhibition deals with the differing experience of the internet by humans and bots, and gives you, via a QR-Code, access to the internet as a search engine bot.
Have you ever wanted to surf the web as a bot?
As a Russian bot?
Ever wondered what a bot gets to see online and you don't?
Refuse to be Human lets you pretend to be a Yandex bot to find out. It is a simple web extension which changes your browser’s user agent to that of the Yandex bot. While Google is the most popular web search engine in the world, Yandex is number one in Russia. Yandex uses web crawlers which surf the web extensively to scrape the contents for their search engines (making the Yandex bot the most influential Internet user in Russia. Only what the bots see is indexed and can later be found by other users through Yandex search). By changing your settings to match those of the bot, you become one of thousands of Yandex bots browsing the web to index its contents.
Surfing the web as a search engine bot gives you access to what is referred to as the grey web, a layer of content only visible to bots. In some cases it might give you access to websites and archives that are usually hidden behind a paywall. While the website owner will present the regular user with a login page, they will give web crawlers access to their full archive in order for it to be represented in Yandex’s or Google's search results.
Text by Mediengruppe Bitnik
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