Drawing inspiration from the concept of the “robot-readable world” — i.e. people and places as perceived through the eyes of smart machines such as face-detecting cameras — Quiet Babylon describes the “corporate gaze”:
There’s another class of entities to whom we have already granted personhood. I’m speaking, of course, about corporations. Immortal entities of terrifying inhuman thinking, capable of entering into contracts and incurring debts, and owed a subset of the rights which we accord to human persons. I’m interested in the aesthetics of the corporate readable world, and their truly alien gaze.
Corporations communicate to us through money, press-releases, and advertising, always advertising. For a glimpse of the corporate readable world, look to Twitter’s routinely useless “who to follow” panel, Klout’s laughable ideas about what you are influential about, Facebook’s clumsy attempts to get you to join a dating site, and Google’s demented, personalized, Gmail ads. You can see it in your credit rating, and your position on the actuarial tables. You can see it in Blackwater/Xe/Academi’s attempt to conceal itself by shedding names like a trickster god shedding skins.
These aren’t visually appealing […] but they’re an aesthetic nonetheless.