Zilla van den Born packed her bags for Southeast Asia, said goodbye to her family and friends and spent the next five weeks posting pictures of herself in going to temples, snorkeling and eating fantastic food. What she didn't do, however, was leave home.
The Amsterdam-based student, 25, told everyone she knew (except her boyfriend) that she'd be travelling for 42 days, but instead of getting on a plane, she turned her life into an experiment of how easy it is to fool others with our Facebook appearances.
Zilla, who is a graphic designer and video artist, detailed the experiment on her site. The explanation for it (translated from Dutch) reads:
"We live in a visual culture in which media and reality are intertwined, and it is difficult to distinguish between reality and representation. Everyday we see a stream of images, which makes it possible to see the rest of the world from our living rooms.
As part of my graduation I went to Southeast Asia. At least, that 's what my classmates, friends, family and even my parents believed. In reality, I stayed home and I discovered Thailand, Cambodia and Laos from my desk."
Zilla's delicious Thai restaurant meal, prepared in her apartment with food she bought at an Amsterdam grocery store.
A look at how Zilla Photoshopped herself into the waters of Thailand.
Zilla even faked Skype conversations with people "back home," setting up a portion of her apartment with a Southeast Asian-style backdrop.
As reported by GapYear.com, Zilla told media in the Netherlands, “My goal was to prove how common and easy it is to distort reality. Everybody knows that pictures of models are manipulated. But we often overlook the fact that we manipulate reality also in our own lives.”
Not a bad lesson to take home, really.
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