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The high cost of free media. SE2 leader raises provocative questions in museum exhibition.

When SE2 Account Director Heather Link-Bergman is not working to help our clients advance projects that improve lives and communities, she’s busy raising awareness of some of the most important issues facing society.

In addition to a career in communications and marketing, Heather is also an accomplished conceptual artist. Her latest work is currently on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver (MCA Denver). It’s part of an exhibition that showcases the role of artists as citizens, active in political and civic discourse.

We have collected as much data in the last 10 years as we have amassed in all human history. I certainly question that all this data is good and that all this data will be used for good. And by who? The data itself is amoral — it’s not good or bad. But people are.”

Time-lapse video from the artist's surveillance camera.

Heather and her partner in both life and art (‘Artner), Peter Miles Bergman, recently gave this great artist talk about their work. They are founders of the art collective The Institute of Sociometry. Heather and Peter discuss the evolution of their project called LLiLL (Leftist Leaflets in Little Libraries), which is included in the Citizenship: A Practice of Society exhibition.

LLiLL takes a humorous approach to get us thinking about some serious topics. The 3-year project grew along with the artists’ curiosity about the reaction to their work. What started as a bit of “pranktivism” — putting eye-catching leaflets called ‘zines in the ubiquitous front yard book exchange boxes in their Denver neighborhood — turned into a surveillance project to collect and analyze data on those interacting with the ‘zines.

This was around that time that we had all heard about Cambridge Analytica and were starting to wake up a little more to how much surveillance and data collection were happening on these free social media platforms we use,” said Heather.

Naturally, given Heather’s other professional experience, her own data collection led to a tongue-in-cheek marketing seminar to share results and recommendations.

Here’s a quick peak at surveillance insights and marketing conclusions from the LLiLL project:

Peter Miles Bergman + Heather Link-Bergman.

“It turned into a broader commentary on the way in which even the most humble and grass roots D-I-Y gestures can be co-opted and commercialized, whether that’s taking your side hustle and feeling intense pressure to make it your business on Instagram,” said Heather. “But it also kind of raises awareness around how much information we give away about ourselves, and what we receive in return. And that’s sometimes a deal, like some kind of coupon code. But the more nefarius thing we receive in return is information and communication that is perfectly calibrated to our existing world views — that never really pushes us to think beyond these clusters that we are in.”

The more nefarius thing we receive in return is information and communication that is perfectly calibrated to our existing world views — that never really pushes us to think beyond these clusters that we are in.”

Make plans to check out The Institute of Sociometry’s interactive installation at MCA Denver this week! The exhibition runs through February 14.

We at SE2 are also adding the exhibition’s amazing catalog to our bookshelves and coffee tables! Heather and Peter, proprietors of is PRESS, also designed and letterpress printed the cover and co-published the 60-page catalog.