Next event:
ERINN SAVAGE – Performance
Tomorrow 15:00 GMT


A critical design project that will consist of a 7 part video series designed to be shown in an exhibition to question our role as both the agents and victims of surveillance capitalism by drawing parallels to the Seven Sacraments of the Catholic religion. Its aim is to show how we are slavishly following the ‘religion’ that is surveillance capitalism, an all knowing, all seeing presence.

I drew parallels betweeen the Catholic religion and surveillance capitalism; they are both omniscient, elusive presences that know everything about us, they are shrouded in mystery and in the same way that some turn to God when they need answers, others turn to Google.

The elusive nature of surveillance capitalism makes it seem too complicated to grasp, which in turn, creates feelings of anxiety in some, and disinterest in others. I wanted to design an analogous system to surveillance capitalism as a way to get people to question their role within this ‘hidden’ societal structure in which we are largely complicit.

We live in a society in which Big Tech knows everything about us, from our internet searches to the size of our houses. These companies are able to paint a detailed picture of who we are, using data that we do not even know they have access to. They use this data to engineer our behaviour towards a predetermined future like we have previously seen with the Cambridge Analytica scandal that contributed to the rise of Trump and Brexit.


If you’ve got a body, you’ve got something to sell looks at the future of the gig economy in the Global South. It focuses on what could happen to those who lose their jobs to automation, who may have nothing left to sell but their bodies. The project is based on the current issue of body commodification, which sees people in the Global South make a living through the transnational kidney trade, hair trade and surrogacy. It poses the question of what the gig economy might look like if it was possible for buyers in the Global North to purchase another person’s genes from the Global South in order to change one’s own genetic code using CRISPR-Cas9 technology.

In a future in which genetic material is bought and sold, what impact does this have on consumer culture and trends? ‘Trend Magazine’ is a bi-annual publication entirely dedicated to forecasting and discussing trends, but these trends are no longer about what clothes to wear or how to style your hair, instead they consider more invasive changes such as eye-colour or athletic prowess.

Exploring ways in which this automated future could be realised, I recognised that when people have nothing left, their only resource is the human body. I created a matrix to look at the different manifestations of a gig economy based on the sale of genetic material. The y-axis ranged from government-led to community-led, while the x-axis considered what each of these scenarios could look like if the body was viewed as sacred or whether it was exploited.

Estimates from the World Bank predict that 66% of people in the Global South will lose their job to automation. It is this statistic that served as the basis for my project--what is the meaning of life when there is no work?