GOLDSMITHS  //  BA Design
2020



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Sticky Data Lab

Yena Kim

Digital Identity
Surveillance Capitalism
Online Targeted Advertising





Free service with a trade of your personal information. Recommended movies and products. Personalised gifts. Customised user experience just for you. Countless targeted advertisements everywhere on your screen. How much time do you spend time clicking, tapping, scrolling, swiping, viewing, liking, holding, and staring into the screen daily?

In this hyper-connected world, people continuously engage with fast and convenient digital culture, producing endless digital trails. The persuasive design on screens easily allures people to become loyal, form habits and expose their vulnerability. Concerningly, companies are in the position of constantly monitoring, collecting, analysing, predicting, profiling, filtering, extracting, monetising, and commodifying our data; influencing individuals across devices, platforms, and life contexts. It’s all about profit. Plus, without people’s consent and proper knowledge, the operation keep hides itself behind misdirection, euphemism, and mendacity. There isn’t ‘real’ privacy anymore when they guarantee security and confidentiality. It is concerning that this digital manipulation system is shaping human’s everyday behaviour, which flattens individualism and threatens one’s identity.

This phenomenon, surveillance capitalism, is described by scholar Shoshana Zuboff as: “radically disembedded and extractive variant of information capitalism” based on the commodification of “reality” and its transformation into behavioural data for analysis and sales. I have been investigating this idea more, trying to deconstruct and uncover the hidden complex system that is transforming the world and the truths behind the screens.

The project focused on exploring the uneven power structure of companies(+digital systems) and individuals, interrogating the relationship that has been formed between the two. I wanted to see if there were ways to visualise, redefine, and change this imbalance of power, using design.

Sticky Data Lab is a one-person lab studio space that design and create various experiments and interventions. It exists as a digital platform where individuals can view, interact, and participate in both virtual and physical place. The contents include daily vlogs, physical exercises, speculative installation, face filters and pattern art.


There are several aims of Sticky Data Lab:

— Allowing visitors to have a critical viewpoint/engagement on the current digital system and economy, especially the long-term effects of surveillance capitalism.

— Be aware and conscious, re-examine values and relationships one has with digital culture, that leads to a change the way they interact with the internet and services.

— Open up the discourse with others.


Sticky Data Lab is situated in the current timeframe but looks out to the nearest future when designing the activities. The users are any adult who owns a smartphone, computer, or a smart device. This project is special in a way that people can use their real-time datasets which generates different unique outputs each time.

I invite you to visit stickydatalab.xyz and give yourself an experience! (Highly recommend accessing through a computer for better performance.)