Visual designer & researcher in visual communication

Self-Reflections Through Amazon Shopping

Published 2023 in Repplikk nr 53: Digital

Design Research         Writer  /  Designer

A few years ago Amy Pascal, the former chairperson of Sony, had her emails hacked. Her order history from Amazon was cherry-picked for her most embarrassing purchases and posted to an online news blog. The writer mocked her and encouraged readers to join in and judge her based on those items. In the comment section, some people pointed out how violating this was, but most made assumptions about her character and ridiculed her for it. While this serves as a reminder of how cruel the internet can be, it also raises questions about what our purchases say about who we are as an individual. Viewing her shopping list became an intimate act of voyeurism, where we were allowed to view into the private life of a public figure and speculate what that person is truly like based on what they buy. It was a way to view her personal life to see a side of a public figure that is not usually shared. The real reasons for why she bought the products were never asked as the actual items in her order become symbolic of who she really is. 

While this information was stolen from her email account, there is underlying insecurity in what is kept on record at Amazon and how that reflects back to us as a consumer. If we can judge a person and feel like we understand them more by viewing their buying habits, then as an Amazon customer, how much more do they know about me? Also, what does my shopping history say about myself? Through experimenting with visualizing, my goal is to see if I can answer these questions. I want to see if building a reflection of myself through products will allow for a representation of how I appear on Amazon, or at least how I appear to others through Amazon’s perspective.

The rest of the article is available at  
Replikk nr 53: Digital

What does our digital identity look like? The accumulation of information gathered on us results in a fragmented and distorted self-reflection. I explore visualizing this reflection through art and design, with the aim to encourage critical self-reflections.