Amazon Random Shopper – Randomizing Compulsory Online Buying

Darius Kazemi

With Amazon Random Shopper, Darius Kazemi applies the concept of random generation, already proposed in previous projects, to the process of online buying. After selecting a keyword from Wordnick API, a bot inserts it into the Amazon search engine and buys the first product in the list of the categories books, CDs and DVDs within a spending limit established by a gift card. The object of purchase remains a mystery, until it manifests itself physically in the mail. The bot replaces freedom of choice, generating random purchases and surprise. There are options to program it to purchase objects of likely interest or completely at random; the second choice being based on a reflection about the actual essence of our regular purchases – are items bought randomly really more useless than many items bought consciously? Does this randomness really replace free will or rather is it the only escape from induced purchasing choices? The automation of the process reaches its apex, its more extreme limit involving the buyer and his choice of what to buy. An automation of the subject, contrasts with the process used by the platform, paradoxically becoming a claim of freedom against the “tips for shopping”, purchase suggestions offered by Amazon et al that are based on our buying history or that of others making similar choices to our own – processes designed to encourage us to continue our shopping indefinitely.

Ylenia Cafaro