When your baby reaches up to a mobile Cornet designed, it records a short video and uploads it to Facebook. When it fiddles with a plush paperclip, it's tweeting its GPS location and if your child turns the ball, it uploads a photo of them with the hashtag #myfirstselfie. Cornet says that the device is meant to highlight how creepy it can be when parents display every aspect of their child's life before they even have the agency to say whether or not they want that.
For example, a friend of mine says that on her Facebook six girls from her school days are pregnant. She does not know these girls anymore, but while wondering why she is still connected with them, admits to getting emotionally invested in their pregnancies - as she is updated on them every day. She says after they're born, she will no doubt feel like she knows these children. She is pretty much a stranger to the parents, let alone to the child who will never meet her. Cornet speaks of her own experiences with this on Deezen, and says similar Facebook influences are what inspired her to create the piece.
Before a child is even born it's subject to its own internet footprint. New mums and dads drop the news with a tweet, upload a scan to their Facebook page, make baby bump blogs from conception. Now with the new mobile from Cornet, parents can cut out the middleman and let the baby be in control of their own impact on the world wide web. Cornet plays with the idea of autonomy and whether or not the baby would be comfortable having their parents expose their lives from such a young age.
After speaking with many parents who were defensive about their right to post baby pictures online due to privacy settings, she asked them whether they had asked their child's permission.
We live in a world where paranoia is running parallel to information overspill, and the factor that worries people most in this crossfire is the safety of children. The cyber-safety workshops of aged AOL browsing are still relevant today. We may have technologically evolved, but we are largely unsafe about how we do it. We have no way of stopping viruses, people still watch porn from dodgy email attachments and perverts still solicit sex online with children, as illustrated by Channel 4 documentary the Paedophile Hunter and To Catch A Predator.
While there are tools implemented to protect children, they are growing up in a world of over-permeated technology and are probably more efficient at cracking the code to your password protected wi-fi than you are.
This arguably no different to the 35mm snapshots that fill dog-eared photo albums of me and my siblings, but at least these are more contained. Not many people know my sister was the ugliest baby known to man, and was nicknamed Quasimodo until the age of three. If it was 2014 she'd be sparking an "is there such thing as an ugly child" debate in one of my dad's old school friends' inboxes.
I guess if you're prone to Instagramming the only dinner you made this month, then you're going to Instagram the thing you cooked up in your womb. However, I can't help but agree with Cornet that when you think about it, our urge to share sometimes can be more creepy than cute.
While Laura Cornet's design is very much an art project, parents have started to believe it's a commercial toy, and they want to buy it. To them, it's just another tool to project their wrinkly newborn onto the world, and for that I hope it doesn't get bought out commercially. Cornet says she's developing a prototype to have the mobile send data to parents' smart phones instead of social media, to cull their urges to share with mere acquaintances while still creating unique memories.