Documentary photographer Lauren Greenfield was trying to form trusting relationships with members of a Mayan tribe in Mexico in the early 1990s when she picked up a discarded copy of Bret Easton Ellis’s Less Than Zero. Before she’d finished the cult novel – which charts the parties, drug taking and sex lives of rich college kids in Los Angeles – Greenfield had decided to swap photography subjects from the Maya of Chiapas to the rich kids of her home town.
“DATA SLAVERY.” Jennifer Lyn Morone, an American artist, thinks this is the state in which most people now live. To get free online services, she laments, they hand over intimate information to technology firms. “Personal data are much more valuable than you think,” she says. To highlight this sorry state of affairs, Ms Morone has resorted to what she calls “extreme capitalism”: she registered herself as a company in Delaware in an effort to exploit her personal data for financial gain. She created dossiers containing different subsets of data, which she displayed in a London gallery in 2016 and offered for sale, starting at £100 ($135). The entire collection, including her health data and social-security number, can be had for £7,000.