ArtworkMeta OfficeEdward Zammit, Lauritz Bohne, Lea Scherer Meta Office: Behind the Screens of Amazon Mechanical Turks, 2021What we think of as artificial intelligence is often manufactured by the routine clicks of countless workers. Hidden behind their screens, they operate the digital production line of a rising labeling industry focused on data description services – services that seem to be automated but are in fact deeply human. Paid cents per task, Amazon employs workers from all over the planet to label, categorize, and validate vast arrays of raw data, providing important metadata. The so-called “Amazon Mechanical Turks” are the unseen workforce behind digital automation.By using Amazon’s crowdsourcing platform to enter into a dialogue with its workers, Meta Office displays their decentralized “office” space. While the workers are confronted with the mechanisms of the platform, they allow us a voyeuristic gaze into the most intimate interiors – where individuals’ needs bend to those of work.Photo by photo, the workers share with us the objects that are most meaningful to them, revealing a repetitive pattern: desktops, mice and keyboards, office chairs, tables and trays, headphones, extension cables, and desk fans meet bedrooms, kitchens, and bathrooms, beds, pillows, and refrigerators. Click by click, the workers provide information about their milieu: meterage, geographical location, and earnings, expanding our understanding of the photographs with their metadata.Meta Office: Behind the Screens of Amazon Mechanical Turks showcases as a series of photographs the common ground of that digital production line: An improvised making of a workspace with all the means at its disposal. An office space that imposes itself, transforming its original surroundings into a working environment whose appearance does not resemble corporate design, and yet the influence of a global corporation is underpinned from within it. An individualized and continuously expanding office space whose existence, just like that of its workers, remains concealed behind countless generic User-IDs.Meta Office: Behind the Screens of Amazon Mechanical Turks is part of the research and design project Meta Office conducted by Lea Scherer, Lauritz Bohne, and Edward Zammit in 2021 in the Datapolis Studio of the Faculty of Architecture at TU Delft.