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Park Workshops

The Hidden Life of a Browser

16. February - 17. February 2022

Workshop in the production of Aksioma at the ALUO, Ljubljana

Although most of our daily transactions are carried out through electronic devices, we know very little about the apparatus that makes such interactions possible, or in other words, the factory behind the interface: massive infrastructure, intensive data extraction processes and opaque business models. Ad Tech (AT) is the main business model within the so-called Digital Economy, yet it remains alarmingly obfuscated. “AT is the cornerstone of the modern internet: the source of wealth for some of the biggest and most important companies in the world: Google earns more than 80% of its revenue from advertising; Facebook, around 99%, and it is the mechanism by which almost every ‘free’ website or app makes money.” The AT business model heavily relies on monetising user activity by extracting and sharing user data with advertisers in order to provide tailor-made ads. These processes are carried out by cookies and other supporting technologies embedded in websites, apps, videos and other formats of digital media. When a user visits a website using a browser, tracking software automatically triggers the collection of all types of user data, which is now owned by the tracking company (e.g., Amazon, Google, Facebook) – and which it has the legal right to exploit. Moreover, all the energy required to load this relatively large amount of information is effectively demanded from the user, who ends up bearing not only part of the economic cost of these hidden monetisation processes, but also a portion of its environmental footprint.


The workshop will analyse and trace back through the many companies that extract and monetise user activity, together with the technologies they use, and will focus on the material and geopolitical dimensions of AT intensive data extraction processes. The main goal of this workshop is to deepen the understanding of the multiple vectors that converge in the configuration of the Digital Economy and to provide participants with the technical and analytical skills to regain agency on AT abusive business model practices.

[1] Gilad Edelman, Wired,