1 ⭐ Review Tour 2024ongoing

In collaboration with Selena Savić & Gordan Savičić

1 ⭐ Review Tour, Aksioma, Ljubljana, 2024.

With 1 ⭐ Review Tour, we look at how online rating systems shape the perception and experience of a place. In contemporary data-driven environments, credit scores, social influence rankings and product/service reviews dictate choices regarding, for example, selecting a doctor, shopping or dining out. One of the most widely used evaluation schemes online is the five-star system. Its popularity stems from the ease of judgement it proposes, its implied clarity (five is better than one) and the way it transforms personal opinions into objective values by way of aggregation (individual reasoning doesn’t matter if many people come to the same conclusion).

While the reviews are often nothing more than personal opinions, their cumulative values have become a driving force for the service and tourist industries as well as many other sectors of the economy. For businesses, reviews have become a feared measure of success or bust.

Not all sites, services or products can align with conventional consumer requirements. To obtain the five-star rating, they must be easy to consume, readily available, impressive, fun or “instagrammable”. And while privately owned companies can fight bad online reviews, public spaces can hardly talk back or ask Google to leave them alone.

1 ⭐ Review Tour explores what it means when places we love are scrutinised and publicly rated. It investigates the politics of rating systems, their real world consequences, and the power ratings have to produce real effects. And because it can be emotionally difficult to endure negative opinions on the places we cherish, the work is viewed from the comfort of a massage chair, a f star setting for one star opinions.

1 ⭐ Review Tour Ljubljana
The 1 ⭐ Review Tour Ljubljana is a virtual tour of Ljubljana using one star reviews as a guide. The video-based tour leads to 180 one star reviews scraped from Google Maps. The installation contrasts the negativity of the reviews with the comfort of a fully automated massage chair. The anger provoked by listening to so many complaints about places we hold dear is counteracted by the massage, creating a 5 star setting for 1 star opinions.

1 ⭐ Review Tour Secrets
The 1 ⭐ Review Tour Secrets is a video essay which explores the politics of rating systems and their real world consequences. Juxtaposing the well-known format of silent city walks with a whispered narrative, the history of reviews is told between the contrasting contexts of public and private. The essay is viewed through the headrest of a shiatsu chair, with the body suspended in the expectation of a relaxing massage.

1 ⭐ Review Tour Browser Extension
The 1 ⭐ Review  Tour Browser Extension is a browser based artwork that filters reviews on Google Maps to show only one star ratings. By focusing on the poetics of failed expectations, the 1 ⭐ Review Tour Browser Extension shifts perspectives on the places you visit. 1 ⭐ Review Tour Browser Extension cuts the utilitarian connection we have with review systems. Instead of using online reviews to chose the five star option, we focus on the negative, as a way of engaging with the politics of rating systems and their power to influence real world spaces. 

1 out of 5
1 out of 5 is a light sculpture and part of a series of works that explore the politics of rating systems and the power ratings have to produce real effects.

1 ⭐ Review Tour Ljubljana, video, 4K UHD, sound, 16 min 15 sec, loop, yellow PVC lamella curtain, automatic massage chair, screen, speakers, Aksioma, Ljubljana, 2024.

«This is a 16 minute tour of Ljubljana where you get to see and hear ONLY negative reviews. And they are all about public places in Ljubljana. Like people come with these exaggerated expectations and then are disappointed when Ljubljana is not like Rome or Paris. Or when a place is not as NICE or NOTABLE as they thought. The things people complain about!!! Elsewhere is better!!! Roadworks!!! The weather?!! Too many tourists!! EXACTLY!!! People are so stupid!!!!!

At least you get to sit in an amazing fully automated massage chair while watching this. Make sure to make the most of the free massage by pressing the zero gravity button. Then the rage you are feeling about the art piece gets massaged right out of you. Even better if you remember to bring ear plugs and just close your eyes. That way you don't have to actually see the video and you can REALLY enjoy the massage.»

1 ⭐ Review Tour Secrets, video, 4K UHD, 60fps, sound, 20'15", loop, portable massage chair, tablet, tablet holder, headphones, Aksioma, Ljubljana, 2024.

«Just a 4K silent walk through Ljubljana. A popular format on Youtube and would be relaxing to watch if it weren't for the whispering. Talking about the oldest customer complaint and reviews and the Karenina Principle, as if it were a secret. Weird ASMR vibes. They delve into how algorithms shape our experience of places. But all I see is lots of tourists walking in Ljubljana old town. Also would have been nice to hear more about the scams and how people game rating system. It is not at all pleasant to watch a video sitting in a shiatsu chair. I fell asleep. So inconvenient. 1/5.»

1 ⭐ Review Tour Browser Extension, browser extension for Chrome and Firefox, lying face down gaming cushion, foldable yoga mat, screen, mouse, Aksioma, Ljubljana, 2024.
1 ⭐ Review Tour Browser Extension (screenshot), browser extension for Chrome and Firefox, Aksioma, Ljubljana, 2024.

«This extension sucks!!!! Not even worth reviewing it. This browser based artwork shows only one star reviews on Google Maps. Unless you are trying to find the worst option for everything, this is NOT HELPFUL. Who wants to focus only on the negative reviews? The artists drivel about the poetics of failed expectations and the shift of perspectives. They think this is a good way to understand and challenge the power of rating systems. The browser extension is basically a shadow software-defined tourist agency that gives you a nightmare view on Ljubljana. How is that going to help anything??!!

And to experience the 1 ⭐ Review Tour Browser Extension in the exhibition they make you lay on a mat on the floor. And look through a cushion. So awkward and uncomfortable. And you don't even get a massage.»

1 out of 5, light installation, 5 polyethylene stars, custom electronics, Aksioma, Ljubljana, 2024.

«The only piece that makes sense. 5/5»

The exhibition at Aksioma Project Space is part of our curatorial programme (un)real data ☁ - (🧊)real effects
3. – 26. April 2024