Balenciaga Big Data
Dressing for the Age of Psychological Mapping
In 2014, psychologist Michal Kosinski worked with the Psychometrics Centre at Cambridge University to develop a mathematical profiling system using Facebook activity and smartphone data. Through this, he was able to understand you, a total stranger, better than your closest loved one.With every click and double-tap, you unwittingly fill out an extensive questionnaire detailing the minutiae of your most secret self. These psychometrics ascertain personality traits by tracking desires, fears, late-night Google searches—they can deduce your stance on gun control by which stand-up comedians you follow on Instagram.This is the age of data-driven psychoanalysis, and your inner thoughts are public domain. Algorithms swiftly slot people into complex categories: Hypochondriac pastry chef interested in romantic comedies similar to Runaway Bride. Katana-collecting orthodontist preoccupied by his thinning hair. Lifestyle blogger with imposter syndrome and a ticket to Burning Man 2017.Digital debris is gobbled up by companies and used to target products and services directly to those who (don’t even know they) want them. If you are wondering what the future holds, just ask the predictive psychometric prophecy.
In the face of Big Data, we are all basic. Every movement is tracked until typical. It can be disheartening to feel so predictable, when even your computer finds you boring, finishing your sentence before it leaves your fingertips. An adulterous Mrs. Robinson, watching the revolving door from the lounge. A door-to-door lobbyist moonlighting as a member of Anonymous. A teenage runaway squatting Dad’s new development. Is it real-life or is it a fashionable ruse? Embody the unpredictable, employing an irony so nuanced it becomes a revolt against the algorithm. There is no one better to outfit this complexity than Balenciaga. To be break-the-internet enigmatic is the only defense, and Balenciaga indifferently evades every finger you try to put on it. Is it corporate culture, or is it critique? If the job description says “be inscrutable,” Balenciaga is the uniform.