Fai Alotaibi

Researcher • Digital Artist
Fai Ahmed’s work focuses on the politics of memory and the aesthetics of digital error. Each of her works sits at the juncture of two entirely different explorations: the exploration of ideas and the exploration of the process of artistic creation. She published her first art book in 2020 titled “Untitled Album”, and she has exhibited at numerous local and international exhibitions, most notably in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and NYC.
Thesis Faculty
Ethan SilvermanDave CarrollRae HsuLoretta Wolozin

The Image Has No Right To Exist | ليس للصورة حق في الوجود

The Image Has No Right To Exist

The Image Has No Right To Exist is a video installation that explores how digital channels suppress narratives by bombarding receivers with irrelevant content, illuminating how the algorithm selectively limits exposure to political content. This project resists those manipulative strategies by exposing the power dynamics in online platforms and exploring ways to dismantle the language and imagery they propagate. This resistance is critical in addressing how technological mechanisms contribute to the dehumanization of the Palestinian narrative and suppress its digital discourse.

The Image Has No Right To Exist also engages with “Hauntology” in the digital age, proposing that algorithms act as spectral forces within the digital realm— ghosting digital rights, freedom of speech, and privacy. Through moving images, The Image Has No Right To Exist portrays these haunting algorithmic entities as active participants in shaping and manipulating public perception, challenging viewers to recognize and subvert the algorithmic governance that shapes our digital and social landscapes.

Methodology: Investigating Algorithmic Influence on Visibility and Interaction in Social Media

The project utilizes a two-video series to critically examine the impact of algorithmic recommendations on content visibility and user interaction on social media platforms, specifically focusing on Instagram. The video investigates the concept of digital apartheid by engaging with social media platforms to document and analyze how algorithms control visibility and suppression. Regular interaction through scrolling, posting, and reacting forms the basis of data collection. To test the algorithm’s response, the users craft specific posts using both standard and coded language, including terms designed to evade detection, such as “alg0r!thm, algo, algo-break, f*ck algo, algozeft,” alongside politically sensitive variations like “jenocide, falestine, falastin, Balysten.” All interactions are stored, including changes in the status of posts and accounts, to support a thorough analysis of how content management changes under various social media interaction scenarios. The video uses coded language and manipulated imagery to maintain visibility and evade digital suppression.

The metaphors are embedded within theoretical ideas about visibility, surveillance, and digital space: “trapped inside a visual labyrinth” and “hypervisual space.” These metaphors explain the user’s experience in tightly regulated digital space graphically, much as their life is today—always on, with the ongoing struggle to balance visibility for human audiences with invisibility from controlling algorithms. However, as this event is heavily mediated by its images, which have become central to their interpretation and impact, I chose the footage based on the most viewed and recommended on my Instagram Explore page. I deliberately selected irrelevant images and videos that were highly circulated to understand better how algorithmic filtering and recommendation systems can be used as tools of digital oppression.