Carbolytics is an art-research project that aims to raise awareness and make a call for action on the environmental costs of corporate surveillance. AdTech, which in the last decade has become the main business model of the so-called internet companies, analyses, manages and distributes online advertising. It encompasses a wide array of players, tools and methodologies, such as ad exchanges, real-time bidding and micro-targeting, which heavily rely on user data in order to effectively target and deliver advertising. Hence, data collection is a key resource to its global supply chain. But how is user data actually being harvested?
The research behind Carbolytics identifies and analyses the carbon emissions of the total number of cookies belonging to the top one million websites. The project shows the average global cookie traffic in real time, or in other words, displays how cookies are parasitizing user devices to extract personal data and feed it into a massive yet obfuscated network of organisms.
Production: Aksioma – Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana | konS ≡ Platform for Contemporary Investigative Art
Partners: Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC), Weizenbaum Institute and Sónar+D Barcelona
Part of the series: Tactics & Practice
Acknowledgements: Senka Šifkovič Vrbica, Urša Chitrakar