If this modern world, with its grim drumbeat of Facebook “friends” posting photos of their golden lakeside idylls and sun-baked rain forest adventures, has got you down, cheer up. It only seems like you’re slaving over a hot stove while all these people you know are leading lives of sex and danger and boffo profits. They’re all faking it, or at least they might be.
The Daily Mail reports that Zilla van den Born, a 25-year-old graphic arts student in Amsterdam, used The Facebooks to persuade her family she was on a six-week junket through Southeast Asia, while she was actually staying home and creating enticing vacation pics in Photoshop:
’My goal was to prove how common and easy it is for people to distort reality. Everyone knows that pictures of models are manipulated, but we often overlook the fact that we manipulate reality also in our own lives.’
The graphics student was waved off at the airport by her family before she took a train back to Amsterdam and spent the following 42 days indoors cleverly altering images.
Over the course of five weeks Zilla seemed to enjoy snorkelling, sample authentic Asian food, travel in traditional tuk-tuks and she even visited a Buddhist temple.
But in reality the photographs were taken in her own swimming pool, or using venues around Amsterdam – and the authentic Asian food was in fact cooked by Zilla herself.
She even created the illusion of a Thai hotel room in her own bedroom, using old Christmas decorations and an umbrella, to fool her parents during Skype sessions.
If all of that wasn’t enough she sent text messages in the middle of the night and posted Asian souvenirs that she had actually bought from local shops.
The story lacks the payoff in which some crook watching van den Born’s Facebook page tried to rob her house while she was away, and she dispatched him with whatever the Dutch use for home defense. (Wooden clogs presumably.) And putting a lot of effort into fooling loved ones about your whereabouts is the kind of thing that in earlier times might have been considered a pitiable cry for help. But the prank has now gone viral, and you have a new excuse not to Like that selfie of your least favorite sandalista posing with a tree sloth.
Where would we be without the wisdom of Dutch art students?