Image credits: Boris Zharkov

The Hidden Life of an Amazon User

Earlier this year, the artist Joana Moll purchased a biography of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos on Amazon. She discovered that the website sent her through 12 different interfaces just to purchase a single book. Each interface is made up of thousands of lines of code not usually visible to users, which help the site’s style, content, interactivity, and record a customer’s activity.

This project lets you explore the vast amount of code that is hidden behind Amazon’s interfaces, how much energy you expend while scrolling through it, and the mounting energy costs that you are inadvertently paying for. Moll calculated that the average amount of energy needed to load the code and scroll through it is 30 watts per hour. (The printed code for the single search totals 8,724 pages.) Scroll through the code: you may be burning more calories shopping online than you think.

This work was realized within the framework of the European Media Art Platforms EMARE program at IMPAKT with the support of the Creative Europe Culture Programme of the European Union.