TURKER COMPUTERS

Above: Amias MacLeod (Parklan, Florida, United States)

Our computers, and where and how we use them, is incredibly personal: we care for them like pets or lovers, cleaning them, grooming their operating systems when prompted, and increasingly taking them with us wherever we go. Similarly, the workspaces in which we use them also reflect how we work and how we interact with technology. As with any relationship, each person is unique. This project attempts to capture these varied relationships.

A simple request was made on Amazon's Mechanical Turk website over the period of approximately a year: take a photograph of your computer, and include a name (or handle/alias) and where you live (as vague as you like)*. A selection of the resulting images are shown here.

The images also starkly show the relationship between class and technology. The human-side of the technology economy that we most often see are shiny Google offices, open floorplans, and ping-pong tables. However, many of the technological services we rely on are carried out by faceless workers spread across the globe (Adrian Chen's reporting on content moderators is a great example, as is this post by Shawn Wen on The New Inquiry).

For more discussion of the issues raised in Wen's article, especially how the methodology for this project was determined to be as fair as possible to the workers, please see this post.

* Some of the earliest images do not include name or location information — if one of these images is yours, please let me know.

13joker (USA, south)
ARI (Chesapeake, VA, USA)
Alex (US, SC, Aiken)
Art (Baltimore, MD, USA)
BenBen (South Carolina)
Bizzytm (Honolulu, Hi, United States)
Bobbatron808 (Hawaii, USA)
Brad (USA, St Louis)
Cheddar (USA)
Coji (Poughkeepsie, NY)
Dee (Saint Peter, MN USA)
Dylan (Kuala Lumpur)
Erin (Las Vegas, NV, USA)
Jessica (USA, VA)
John (USA, California, Riverside)
KMB (White Sands, New Mexico, USA)
Kara W (Wilmington, North Carolina, United States of America)
KimM (Rutledge, TN USA)
Kostantin (Macedonia)
Kraig L (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA)
KrissyR (Indiana)
Leslie (Casselberry, Florida)
Nana2One (Nettleton)
Natasha (Atlanta, GA)
Nikki (USA,South,Grenada)
PretzelFreak (Germantown, Ohio)
Sic1337 (Bellevue, NE, USA)
T (Detroit)
Tenna (USA)
TheMouse (Portland, Oregon, USA)
Turks24 (South Carolina, USA)
Unknown-1 (Unknown)
Unknown-10 (Unknown)
Unknown-11 (Unknown)
Unknown-12 (Unknown)
Unknown-13 (Unknown)
Unknown-14 (Unknown)
Unknown-15 (Unknown)
Unknown-16 (Unknown)
Unknown-17 (Unknown)
Unknown-18 (Unknown)
Unknown-19 (Unknown)
Unknown-2 (Unknown)
Unknown-3 (Unknown)
Unknown-4 (Unknown)
Unknown-5 (Unknown)
Unknown-6 (Unknown)
Unknown-7 (Unknown)
Unknown-8 (Unknown)
Unknown-9 (Unknown)
Val (USA, PA, Pittsburgh)
WrJr (United States, South)
emilio (san diego, CA)
hurtstobreathe (Atlanta, GA United States)
jlmathis (United States, Michigan, Detroit)
kcott84 (Virginia, USA)
lambchop522 (Medford, New York)
sam (unknown)

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