For more than a month, Zilla Van Den Born, 25, backpacked through Southeast Asia, dined at exotic Asian restaurants, went to the pristine white beaches of Thailand, visited the temples of Cambodia and discovered Laos.
But all of these were done from the comfort of her own home.
The student went on great lengths to fool her friends and family that she was traveling in Southeast Asia, with her boyfriend as her partner in crime, Express reported.
During the 42-day “vacation”, she posted photos and updates on her Facebook what one would normally do on a trip.
She uploaded photos of her eating in exotic Asian restaurants, but she was really just eating out in the city of Amsterdam.
She uploaded photos of her sitting beside a Bhuddist monk, but in an Asian temple in Amsterdam.
She uploaded photos of her snorkeling in a clear blue water, but in a swimming pool few blocks away from her apartment in…Amsterdam. The photo was just digitally manipulated to superimpose the color of the water and add the fish.
She even turned her bedroom into an Oriental hotel room so she can talk over Skype to her family and friends, during random hours at night so it would not raise suspicion.
But before judging her, these are all but part of her university graduation project.
She wanted to prove that social media does not always reflect the reality.
“My goal was to prove how common and easy it is to distort reality.”
[quote text_size=”small” author=”– Zilla Van Den Born”]
I did this to show people that we filter and manipulate what we show on social media.
The fake vacation was only discovered when she revealed it to her family and friends, who were all shocked.
At the end of her social experiment, Van Der Born said that not all photos shows what exactly is happening but “what it represents.”
“This ambiguous relationship with reality makes photography so fascinating to me. It raises questions about the representative power of pictures and reality itself.”