Are you human? is a print series about economies, access and exploitation. While Europe shuts down its borders, walled-garden Internet monopolies like Facebook, Google & Co expand globally. Super low wage click workers world wide are exploited on crowd sourcing platforms like Amazon Mechanical Turk. Massive amounts of user data are processed for economic value every day. Each single movement, word or picture is thoroughly analyzed by sophisticated algorithms. The Internet became a world of commercial exploitation which is impossible to evade. At the same time high tech fences are put in place in the desert of north Africa and elsewhere to stop the mass migration of the Anthropocene era.
The print series Are you human? is based on the Google reCaptcha system which controls access to online services. To prove that he/she’s not a robot the user has to identify street signs or cars in a tiled picture. This outsourced labor is used by Google to train their picture recognition and self driving car algorithms. While the economic imbalance between continents and countries grows every day stock photo platforms monetize copyrighted landscapes of migration, illustrated with hashtags of desperation. Predicting the future of human action became a thriving business model for advertising and lures governments into a false idea of security. Skipping through social media feeds we desperately seek for more likes and attention in a world of commerce, borders and control.
Aram Bartholl 2017