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The Hidden Life of an Amazon User


Johanna Moll’s browser-based installation confronts us with the environmental footprint of buying a book on amazon.com. It sheds light on Amazon’s often unacknowledged but aggressive exploitation of their users, which is embedded in the core of the so-called internet companies’ business strategies.

Purchasing the book “The Life, Lessons & Rules for Success of Jeff Bezos” forces the customer to go through 12 different interfaces made of large amounts of code. In all, the artist was able to track 1307 different requests to all sorts of scripts, which equated to 8724 pages of printed code and 87.33 MB of data. Amazon’s business model is based on “obsessive customer focus,” which entails the continuous tracking of customer behaviour to increase business revenues.

Moreover, all the energy needed to load this entire data was effectively unloaded onto the customer, who ultimately assumed not just part of the economic costs of Amazon’s monetisation processes, but also a portion of its environmental footprint.

This work was realised within the framework of the European Media Art Platforms (EMAP) programme at IMPAKT (NL) with support of the Creative Europe Culture Programme of the European Union.

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