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MFA Design

Emil Söderberg

Geo graphic design

My Thesis project “Geo graphic design” addresses surveillance capitalism by using maps and through the practice of graphic design.
The term “Surveillance Capitalism” was introduced by Shoshana Zuboff, the project’s primary stakeholder. In essence, it refers to a business model in which companies profit from tracking and collecting data from individuals’ interactions, mainly online but also increasingly offline.
Early in the process, I focused on maps due to their appealing aesthetics and potential for engaging in political discourse. I had previously created other art and design projects in which I also used maps as source material.

Within the creative process, I worked back and forth between physical and digital mediums, purely intuitively and exploratory, trying out various methods and techniques. In this process, I laid bare parts of maps, printed them on transparent plastic, vectorized certain sections, and used both overhead and a laser cutter. These experiments resulted in a lot of collages, symbols, and sculptures.
The projects took many turns on the way. However, in the end, my project addresses surveillance capitalism through the game Pokemon Go. The shadow game behind Pokemon Go was all about finding out if Google (owner of Niantic Labs, who created the game) could successfully predict human behavior in the real world through a digital service.
The resulting artwork is indented to be a conversation piece, aiming to make visible a political issue that I believe is currently a cause for concern.