Project Room

Joelle Dietrick,
Owen Mundy:
Tally Saves the Internet

Press Release
NCSU Immersive Scholar Symposium: Data, Surveillance, and Privacy
Let’s Talk Tech: Virtual Happy Hour

Tally Saves the Internet is a new participatory digital and electronic work and large scale multi-channel video installation by North Carolina-based artists Joelle Dietrick and Owen Mundy. The work explores Surveillance Capitalism—the recording and monetizing of a user’s online interest and activity—through Tally, a web-based game.  

Tally is a browser extension that transforms data advertisers collect into a multiplayer game. Once installed, a friendly pink blob named Tally lives in the corner of your screen; as the player browses the web, Tally senses trackers installed on each webpage and warns you when companies translate your human experiences into free behavioral data. When Tally encounters “product monsters” (online trackers and their corresponding product marketing categories) you can capture them in a turn-based battle (e.g. “Pokémon style”) transforming the game into a progressive tracker blocker, preventing the player’s real-life data from being collected and earning the right to your privacy through this playful experience.

The work reflects on and makes more literally apparent the fact that in today’s age of information, it is practically impossible to escape being tracked and having your data collected. Players may choose how they want to "win" the game- whether by listening to Tally’s alerts and attempting to change their browsing activities to avoid being watched and analyzed, or by actively engaging in and challenging these systems by battling the product monsters directly.

As a functional tracker blocker, Tally provides a utility that we all desperately need, to be free of algorithmic surveillance and control. The game invites thoughtful dialogue about the current state of data tracking, empowering players to protect their data and consider more ethical systems going forward.




Joelle Dietrick (b. 1973, Pennsylvania, USA) and Owen Mundy (b. 1975, Indiana, USA) are a North Carolina–based collaborative art team. Their joint collaborations have been shown at Transitio_MX in Mexico City, TINA B Festival in Prague and Venice, Temporary Home in Kassel during Documenta (13), Flashpoint Gallery in Washington DC, Cal State Fresno, and the Orlando Museum of Art. They have also completed public art commissions at the Coleman Center for the Arts and the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communication.

Joelle Dietrick
Joelle Dietrick’s artworks have been shown at the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville; Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California; Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Chicago; MCA San Diego; Long March Space Beijing; ARC Gallery Chicago; Soho20 New York; and as permanent public artworks at the University of North Texas and the City of Tallahassee, Florida. She is a MacDowell Colony fellow and has attended residencies at the Künstlerhaus Salzburg, Anderson Ranch, and the Banff Center. With past funding from the University of California, Florida State University, the Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD), the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, her current research about transnationalism through the lens of seaports is supported by a 3-country Fulbright to Germany, Chile, and Hong Kong.

Owen Mundy
Owen Mundy’s work is best known for his online interventions that have been reviewed by over 300 international news media outlets including the New York Times, National Public Radio, and Wired UK. Recent exhibitions of his work include solo and group exhibitions in Los Angeles, New York, London, Berlin, and Rotterdam. His work is in many books about internet art, including Art and the Internet (2014) and Thinking Through Digital Media: Transnational Environments and Locative Places (2015). With past support from the University of California, Florida State University, the Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD) and the Fulbright Commission, his current research focuses on visualization of data sets—like smells, margins of error, and emotions—that are challenging to define.

This exhibition is made possible, in part, with support from NCSU Library’s Immersive Scholar program; UC Berkeley’s Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity; Resilient Networks to Support Inclusive Digital Humanities / Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Digital Studies at Davidson College; Jay Hurt Hub for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Davidson College; Art Center Nabi; Fulbright Scholar Program; and Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD).

More information at

Tally Saves the Internet! - 2020 Release Trailer

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