Last October 16th, my roommates and I were on our way to an exhibition called "the factory project," located on the eastern outskirts of London. As usual, I opened Google Maps and walked along as the cyber map directed. On the way to the exhibition hall, a pizza restaurant on the map caught my eye. Not only was the star rating very good, but the price was also low. Even though it was a day when I had a large breakfast to refrain from eating out due to the murderous prices in London, this pizza restaurant run by an Asian owner outside London was quite attractive. We were not hungry after seeing the exhibit, but we still went to the pizzeria because we knew we didn't have many chances to see a restaurant like this since we live in an affluent neighbourhood, west of London, and never eat out often. Even after ordering the burger, pizza, and drinks, the price was just £18. It was an unexpected consumption, but we had a satisfying meal, thanks for google maps. 1

I have been interested in the source of the sensations that dominate modern society; the sense of being disenfranchised, outside, not belonging, and disorientated. Without a guide on Google Maps (or similar navigation apps), I cannot even find a destination 10 minutes away. Thus, I found the direction of this dissertation on Google maps.

In the age of Surveillance Capitalism, we live by constantly searching for the information we need. We live in a society where all personal and private experiences online, such as consumption and movement patterns by time, are collected and provided with services. Everything that defines our identity is stored as data to create new capital.2 The satellite view of Google Maps in a smartphone that perfectly fits in the palm of your hand has ushered in an era where you can travel anywhere in the world without getting lost. To borrow Hito Steyerl's words, We are growing increasingly accustomed to what used to be called a God's-eye view, giving us the illusion of being omnipotent and capable of anything.3 However, by exchanging this convenience with our data, we allow Surveillance Capitalism and Digital Capitalism to monitor our behaviour and even manipulate our way of acting. Our dependence on the services of giant platform companies is getting stronger, and under the digital capitalist system, humans are highly exploited and lose their purpose in life.

The ultimate goal of early humans was survival. For this purpose, humans have been hunting and gathering. With the development of technology and civilization over a long period of history, the goal of humankind has shifted from survival to self-actualization. This paradigm shift – from 'what to eat' to 'what to do for a living' – finds the answer at the intersection of individual needs such as wealth, fame, or the order and values ​​presented by society. However, in recent years, especially among young people, a social atmosphere that seems to have lost the goal of self-actualization is growing more and more prevalent. Taking my example, it would be more accurate to say that the word "self-actualization" as an artist itself threatens survival and that survival itself has become the goal of life.

We live in a society where we can simultaneously take the journey to many places. In this case, the word "journey" means not only a simple physical movement but also an online journey. At this time-space, we run into many obstacles. We lose our original purpose and direction with suggestive images, texts, and various advertisements that seem to know our needs well. We remain as drifters both on the Internet and on this earth. In the traditional concept of capitalism, human labor is exchangeable as a commodity value, and the time spent by humans determines the monetary value of the commodity. However, our time is exploited as the target of platform companies' analysis in this case.

1 Recreational Grounds: The Factory Project (2021). [Exhibition]. Thameside Industrial Estate, London, 9 - 22 October 2021
2 VPRO Documentary (2019). Shoshana Zuboff on surveillance capitalism | VPRO Documentary. [Online video]. Available from: (accessed: 9 January 2021)
3 Hito S. (2012). The Wretched of the Screen. e-flux journal: Sternberg Press.

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