Installation in public space on online shopping and digital profiling
Commissioned by “Junge Kunst Wolfsburg e.V.”, supported by the city of Wolfsburg
The new ways of shopping on the Internet allow us to choose from and make more accurate recommendations than ever before. For this we disclose various personal data, which are processed by the platforms to increasingly precise user profiles. At the same time, the increasing online trade is having an impact on local shops and deserted city centers. With a project-funding by the city of Wolfsburg, the “Junge Kunst Wolfsburg e.V.” invited me under the project title “Digitalschatten”, to create a artistic installation on this topic.
In the installation and intervention “dein-offline-shop”, a vacancy in Wolfsburg main station was transformed into an algorithmically optimized consumption adviser, which enables an online shopping experience for real life. The passers-by and their activities were recorded by sensors and individual profiles created, featuring data like their height, gender and consume-propabilty. Then, based on this analysis, personalized purchase recommendations were proposed to the potential customers and individual, very cheap price offers were calculated. Once the users followed a QR link, the were redirected to the “dein-offline-shop” website, where they had to accept an extensive EULA-agreement. Only afterwards, it was resolved, that the whole shop was a artistic installation, tricking them into believing they payed with their data for a very good price.
The project thus aimed to visualize in a small scale what happens to us on a large scale every day when we use one of the popular platforms on the Internet, and makes this experience tangible in the physical world. It interweaves topics and terms from data-supported tracking and the analysis of user data with the topic of surveillance. It also plays with the discrepancy between the “digital” and the “analog” public, between visible and invisible observation.
The installation included supporting social media appearances on Instagram, Facebook and dein-offline-shop.de. The original concept of the installation had to be adapted and relocated several times, to function within Covid-19 limitations, but finally took place at the former tourist information at the main station of Wolfsburg from 10th to 30st December 2020.
Video of the opening (with explanation in German):
Behind the Scenes: