The Hidden Life of an Amazon User

Joana Moll (ES)


“The Life, Lessons & Rules for Success of Jeff Bezos” was purchased at Amazon on June 17, 2019. In order to purchase the book, Amazon forced the customer to go through 12 different interfaces made of large amounts of code. Overall, we were able to track 1307 different requests to all sorts of scripts which equaled 8724 pages of printed code and 87.33Mb of data. Amazon’s business model is based on “obsessive costumer focus,” which entails the continuous tracking of customer behavior in order to amplify the monetization of the user. Thus, the 87.33Mb of code responsible for tracking user activity that were involuntarily loaded by the customer through the browser, relentlessly put Amazon’s core money-making strategy to work. Moreover, all the energy needed to load all this data was effectively unloaded upon the customer, who ultimately assumed not just part of the economic costs of Amazon’s monetization processes, but also a portion of its environmental footprint. The piece narrates the journey of the customer within the labyrinth of interfaces and code that allowed them to buy Jeff Bezos’s book, while also revealing the rising energy costs that were unwittingly paid for by the Amazon customer.

Project Credits:

  • This project was realized within the framework of the European Media Art Platform EMARE program at Bandits Mages with support of the Creative Europe Culture Program of the European Union.


Joana Moll (ES) is a Barcelona based artist and researcher. Her work critically explores the way post-capitalist narratives affect the alphabetization of machines, humans and ecosystems. Her main research topics include Internet materiality, surveillance, social profiling and interfaces. She has presented her work in different museums, universities, festivals and publications around the world. She is the co-founder of the Critical Interface Politics Research Group at HANGAR and currently a visiting lecturer at University of Potsdam.