“We have now become aware of the possibility of arranging the entire human environment as a work of art, as a teaching machine designed to maximize perception and to make everyday learning a process of discovery. Application of this knowledge would be the equivalent of a thermostat controlling room temperature. It would seem only reasonable to extend such controls to all the sensory thresholds of our being.”

—Marshall McLuhan, The Medium is the Massage (1967)

In a time where optimization, efficiency, and headlines dominate the collective consciousness, questions quickly arise. Does hyper-optimization come with diminishing, if not decreasing returns? How should we deliver the news, and what are the ethical concerns with the 24-hour news cyle? What does it mean to live in a society where each moment, a new headline arises, many times, outdoing the previous one? Are there alternatives to click-bait journalism? employs facial recognition technology to monitor the user’s eye movements using their computer’s camera. Each time the user blinks, the system not only generates a new headline from the New York Times in real time, but also initiates a timer to measure the duration the user spends reading this headline. The time taken to read the headline influences the next interaction: the longer the reading time, the more intense and noisy the sound generated upon the user’s subsequent blink. The use of consumer-grade equipment to track involuntary body movements, raises questions about vulnerability, privacy, hyperstimulation, and surveillance in our heavily media-influenced world.
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