I’m currently working my way through Shoshana Zuboff’s epic book “Surveillance Capitalism” and I’m struck by some soft similarities between said form of late capitalism and the forms of Conceptual art (with a capital C) I was drawn to while working on my MFA. In particular, I’m thinking of the work of Sophie Calle, such as The Hotel series, in which she was hired as a temporary maid for a hotel and observed, documented, and extrapolated from her interactions with the guest’s personal items narratives of who they may be.

This type of work could not have been created without a framework of how to value anonymity and the observations of others from a point of assumed anonymity. Calle was able to lay claim, in a way, to the assumed actions and interactions of the hotel guests.

This brings me back to Surveillance Capitalism and the claims that have been made on digital anonymity. Zuboff lays out the following as examples of the claims that Google (or any data-gathering for profit corporation) has used:

How much overlap is there between the strategies of Conceptual art and this new form of economic order?