Terms of Service Fantasy Reader
The Terms of Service Fantasy Reader is an ad-hoc public rehearsal of dramatizing Terms of Service agreements as an inquiry into the opaque conditions of consent. Running as a public participatory performance, The Terms of Service Fantasy Reader is communicated as a designated space and time for the luxury of reading out the Terms of Service of various applications in use on participant’s personal devices, focusing on the least clear, misleading or for any other reason strange language found. The practice of a collective reading allows participants to effectively vocalize what they experienced as a felt tone of the language provided in a shared space. As each participant reads out their chosen segments, the contributions get recorded into a growing interactive online archive and web drama, accompanied by screenshots of suggestive app notifications.
Why explore Terms of Service specifically? Inherently non-consensual in the way they are constructed and implemented they can be seen as the legal backbone of the extractivist behavioral design paradigm. These legal difficult-to-read documents get "signed" on a daily basis and, when downloading and installing an app, their default settings are often unquestioned. With options to either accept all the conditions and participate in a world of affordances of platform selfhood, or decline and be left out of social circles, these formats effectively facilitate a consensus based on a lack of choice. In other words, their consenting mechanism can be perceived as a dark pattern in itself.