Misha's Blog

Why did Foursquare delete my account‽

Posted in Solace 2.0 by Misha on May 26, 2011

My Solace 2.0 project encountered some interesting snags. First, Bird Library employees pulled and threw away my brochures. When I was first figuring out the brochure design I kept thinking about how the installation had to conform to the library venue in unique ways. For example, due to a history of artwork theft, the installation had to be ensconced in the heavy wooden case. This limitation turned into a benefit when the case proved to have just enough space for the work. I thought that since the library is informing and encroaching on my artwork in an interesting way, I should reflect this reality and creatively encroach on the library—just to smooth out the borders between the art and the library.

The library brochure, called “Research Helper” is actually a well designed note-taking booklet with lots of blank pages inside. I decided to write my artist statement on the blank slate pages of the library Research Helper brochure. But this proved tedious, so I decided to scan the brochure, add my text, and print out copies. I modified the design and added more icons and information, while keeping the original design credit and the library logo. This worked well for about three weeks, after which the library became concerned about their logo used in such an unofficial way. What they did was not censorship per se, but a legally motivated action that I can’t really argue with. In place of my brochure, Ann Skiold printed out the library’s blog post about the installation and stuck copies in the brochure holder, which was a positive gesture.

This was not the only snag, however. I noticed after about a month of running Solace 2.0 at the library that new points were not being created, while the old points were still being pruned normally. The face was starting to thin out and disappear. It appears that Foursquare didn’t like something about the project, and deleted my account without warning. I read all the terms and policies before I did the project, and wasn’t breaking any rules. I kept my API use below the request frequency limit and didn’t create multiple accounts. We will see what they say.

Email to Foursquare:


I noticed about a month ago that my Foursquare account was deleted without warning. I wasn’t breaking any of the terms of use, and was using the API within the API frequency use limit. I am an artist, and I am using Foursquare for an art project. Here is a brief description of the project. The second blog post down is an artist statement.


I was wondering why my account was deleted. I wasn’t doing anything illegal. I’m getting ready to release detailed documentation about the project and my findings. I think you would be interested in what I discovered. However, I wanted to find out what happened with my account before I did so. My user id was 3283208

Any information would be greatly appreciated!

Misha Rabinovich”

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Solace 2.0: A Performance in Radiation installation is up!

Posted in Projects, Solace 2.0 by Misha on April 4, 2011
Solace 2.0: A Performance in Radiation

Syracuse University’s libraries have extensive archives or both common and rare media. Their collection just got that much more unique with the inclusion of Solace 2.0: A Performance in Radiation, an installation/performance by yours truly Misha Rabinovich. The project deals with making one’s mark on the world, manifest destiny, surveillance, and social networks.

This project is an installation because of its transmedia form encompassing books, movies, pictures, and video. The installation includes a computer which is hosting and running the Solace 2.0 Social Media Platform. This platform automatically engages social networks so the user (currently just myself) can sit back and focus on other things. The project is also a performance because the identity of the user is split up through the engagement with the platform into a separate online entity that travels on its own.

The installation features several images representing various attempts by different entities to “make a name for themselves” and to be “masters of their domain” ranging from the monumental and permanent to the feeble and ephemeral. Among these images stands a computer monitor, framed in glossy black and gothic red. The monitor shows a grey map with red map markers specifically placed to outline the face of the user. As the points disappear and reappear over time the face exhibits a shimmering quality.

The points represent locations of actual real world venues (restaurants, businesses, etc) which have been registered in a geolocation game called Foursquare. To play such geolocation games, people ‘check in’ to locations they are currently at using their GPS enabled phone. Solace 2.0 checks the user into locations automatically, without the user having to go anywhere. It also publishes the checked-in locations on Twitter.

Everyone is encouraged to visit and experience the installation firsthand at the Bird Library and to pick up a free brochure. Please stay tuned for more information and updates on this project (you can even grab the RSS feed for your reader here). Thank you to Ann Skiold for opening the library for this work. Thanks to Holly Rodricks for proof reading and Caitlin Foley for exhibition consultation and general support. Thank you to Megan Foley for sponsoring this installation. Thank you to Matthew Williamson for pointing out how this falls in with “Griefing” (I will be writing about this soon).

Solace 2.0 Statement

Posted in Projects, Solace 2.0 by Misha on April 3, 2011
Solace Face Targets vs. Resulting Checkins

The ideal face points are picked and targeted. Solace then checks into Foursquare venues nearest to the targets.

To make a name for oneself, to be master of one’s domain, and to leave one’s mark on the map are goals shared by many. Solace 2.0 establishes and maintains one’s identity in today’s Internet-enabled economy of attention while preserving the user’s personal integrity. And it does it automatically, so the user can sit back and concentrate on what’s important.

Social networks seek to conform individual identities into their molds in order to monetize people. The fundamental bargain presented to users of Internet-based social networks is: if you publish private information about yourself, you will reap social rewards. Those who seek attention as capital accept this bargain. But the requirement to conform one’s identity into a social network’s profile is a farce. The Internet—with its ability to robustly connect people across great distance—doesn’t reflect our physical existence but copies, fractures, and multiplies our individual identities. The Internet’s commercial power necessitates the compression of our identities into tokens of trust so that we can buy and sell. These tokens of trust are examples of our newfound disembodied, autonomous, and powerful telekinesis. Our actions online persist in time, creating our data body, which is also a shadow sometimes appearing to dance of its own volition. Each of us is in many places at once.

“Griefing” means harassing online communities (often anonymously) to remind them not to take themselves too seriously. “Griefing” can result in online communities feeling grief. The opposite of grief is solace. “Griefers” feel solace when doing the Griefing and solace supplants grief when one is consoled or relieved.

The Solace 2.0 platform checks you in and keeps your persona fresh.