“Play as “Google”, “Amazon”, “Microsoft”, “Apple”, or “Facebook” to secure your latest acquired company using a classic arcade “claw” machine.”
In an increasingly corporate digital media landscape where the Internet is transforming into a controlled environment built for profit and consumption, large companies such as Meta, Apple, Microsoft, and Google are purchasing smaller companies’ products and rebranding them as their own. From Apple’s acquisition of Beats to Meta’s purchase of Oculus, Instagram, WhatsApp and more, the rise in corporate suffocation of innovation has lead to greed, a stifling of creative freedom, and conglomerate attitudes throughout the tech world. “Surprise Acquisition” is a media artwork that aims to uncover the seemingly randomness of corporate takeovers by equating the arcade “claw” machine with the act of purchasing companies. Similar to the early days of the “dot-com” revolution with companies buying up domain names, the de facto approach today is for companies to gain enough capitol to buy their rivals and integrate these products into their own. “Surprise Acquisition” serves as a reminder of these practices and how they have gotten out of control as corporate technological territorial practice rolls on. As the companies fall into the tray each purchase price is tallied to a larger amount which shows the total corporate greed spent on these smaller companies.
The project uses a claw machine modified with corporate logos of major companies bought and acquired by the big 5, Facebook (Meta), Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon. Visitors to the installation can try the machine to pick up and see which companies they can try to acquire playing as one of the big 4 companies. Found logos are then dropped into the chute and become prizes in the game. Each company’s monetary value from it’s initial acquisition is displayed on the main page next to the number of times the “prize” of that company was found by a played using the claw machine.
Companies Bought by Facebook (Meta):
Companies Bought by Amazon
Companies Bought by Apple
Companies Bought by Google
Companies Bought by Microsoft
Screenshot from Website