Artist Blog

Every week an artist whose single image was published by Der Greif is given a platform in which to blog about contemporary photography.

Nathan Kosta – Flashlights

Nov 12, 2020 - Nathan Kosta

Flashlights, 2019, collected Amazon customer review videos for various flashlights, total runtime 22 minutes, 2 minute excerpt above.

In this film, I repurpose self-surveillance data that collected by Amazon.com to investigate the awareness of the individual during the act of self-surveillance, as well as that action’s relationship to more familiar versions of consumer capitalism. The video footage is captured from customer review videos of various flashlights, uploaded by customers to Amazon.com, demonstrating the products they have purchased in their own spaces. Each flashlight itself acts as a metaphor, existing as the only light source in most of the videos, the purchased product itself is that which reveals the private space to the camera. Photography cannot exist without illumination, and in the case of these product videos both the cell phone camera and the illumination are products purchased by the individual, then used for self-surveillance, willfully submitting visual data of private spaces to Amazon’s neural network to analyze and extract all possible data, which is then used to encourage further purchasing, reinforcing the relentless cycle of surveillance capitalism.