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article imageDutch artist fakes five-week trip through southeast Asia

By Anne Sewell     Sep 12, 2014 in Internet
Amsterdam - In an effort to show how much we manipulate situations on the social media, Zilla van den Born from Amsterdam pretended to take a five-week trip away in southeast Asia, all the while keeping her friends on Facebook updated with photos of her great trip.
The only thing was, the artist never actually left Amsterdam, not even for a moment. What she did was to fake the entire vacation as an art school project. Using Photoshopped images to approximate the travel photos, the work has become a project of social media performance art. Another description could be that it was “travel by approximation.”
Van den Born told the media that she did this to show people how we filter and manipulate what we want them to see of us on the social media and that we actually create an online world to suit what we want others to see of us.
It seems her Photoshop skills were pretty good, as none of her friends caught on to the fact that she was not away on vacation. However, some photos didn’t even need much manipulation, including the image of a Buddhist temple above and a photo of her enjoying eating in a sushi restaurant, as both places were in Amsterdam. When caught on camera scuba diving in “tropical seas,” she just had to add the fish.
Various videos can be viewed on Vimeo showing the Photoshopped scenarios involved.
Van den Born explained that when traveling these days, it’s a set process of updates on the social media about how excited we are to go on vacation, followed by comments, photos, and all the usual during and after traveling. She said that traveling has become an empty commodity, “something to be posted and consumed.”
She explained that her goal in this art project was to prove how “common and easy it is to distort reality.” Everyone already knows how photos of models are manipulated using Photoshop, but she said “we often overlook the fact that we manipulate reality also in our own lives.”
On the subject of travel by approximation, another example is one Jenny Odell, who published a photo book titled “Travel by Approximation: A Virtual Road Trip.”
What Odell did was to create a record of a trip across the United States, purely by way of the Internet. Starting with an idea of a real trip she wanted to take, the project took off and, making use of sources she found online, including Google Street View, and various photo databases and review sites, she created a complicated and realistic tour across the U.S.A., Photoshopping herself into photos wherever she could.
While the project took two months, the final book covers a one year vacation, seeing all the sites the U.S.A. has to offer.
For the budget conscious, it’s also handy to note that this method of traveling costs a whole lot less.
More about Artist, travel by approximation, Amsterdam, Southeast asia, Social media
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