Do You Like Cyber?, 2017. Site-specific sound installation with three robotic parametric speakers. Variable dimensions.
Do You Like Cyber? is a sound installation composed of three parametric speakers attached to swiveling robotic arms. Parametric speakers are similar to lasers in that they radiate sound in a single focused direction – as opposed to conventional speakers, which spread the sound in all directions. Additionally, the sound bounces off hard surfaces such as walls, creating virtual sound sources and making it difficult to detect its origin.
Playing with the idea of deceitful messages, the speakers in Do You Like Cyber? broadcast a series of short audio messages that were used by bots on the dating website Ashley Madison, which I retrieved after the site was hacked. These bots were programmed to engage the website’s users in online chats, getting them to subscribe to the website’s services. Despite the fact that the bots were designed to only contact males, they didn’t always function as they should have. This work focuses on a series of insubordinate bots that, in a post-anthropocentric fashion, displayed anarchic and unpredictable behaviors, such as chatting with each other for no apparent reason or contacting female users even if they weren’t programmed to do so. Do you like Cyber? puts the autonomy and interaction between artificial entities at its center, while leaving humans only partially aware of their presence. The public will be both engaged and eluded by the rhythmic movements of the arms and a fragmented symphony of broken conversations that, bouncing from one side to the other of the exhibition space, transform a networked activity into a sensorial experience.
INSTALLATION AT GALLLERIAPIÙ
FIRST PRESENTATION AT FILMWINTER – FESTIVAL FOR EXPANDED MEDIA
Complete list of messages used by Ashley Madison’s bots included in the sound installation:
/ are you logged in? / care to chat? / I’m online now / I’m here | come chat 🙂 / come say hello / my chat is on now / are you online? / Feel like chatting? / chat now? / do you like cyber? / cyber sex ? / care to cyber? / u into cyber? / How are you? Feel like chatting? / cybering good with you? / how’s your day? wanna chat? / wanna cyber? / want to sex chat? / how’s your cyber skills 😉 / are you at your computer? / So how long have you been here? Met any interesting people? /
- (Upcoming) MAXXI – Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo, Low Form. Imaginaries and Visions in the Age of Artificial Intelligence, curated by Bartolomeo Pietromarchi, Rome, Italy
- Niet Normaal Foundation, Robot Love, curated by Ine Gervais, Eindhoven, Netherlands
- (2017 – Solo Exhibition) RE-CAPTURE: Room(s) for Imperfection, GALLLERIAPIÙ (part of THE WRONG – New Digital Art Biennale), curated by Federica Patti, Bologna, Italy
- (2017) A&SM, The Sensorium, curated by Dean Todd and Mikey Georgeson, The University of East London, UK
- (2017) Against the Slow Cancellation of the Future, Centre for Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK
- (2017) 30th Stuttgarter Filmwinter – Festival of Expanded Media, curated by Wand 5, Kunstbezirk, Stuttgart, Germany
- (2017) ADAF – 13th Athens Digital Arts Festival, #PostFuture, curated by Elli-Anna Peristeraki, Athens, Greece
“Emilio Vavarella: Visual Essay”
Catalogue of exhibition at MAXXI – Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo. Published by CURA. 2018. (ita-eng)
“Di cosa parlano i chatbot quando parlano fra loro?”
“Do You Like Cyber?”
Catalogue of Exhibition, 2018. (eng)
“Intervista con Emilio Vavarella”
“EMILIO VAVARELLA, RE-CAPTURE:ROOM(S) FOR IMPERFECTION”
“RE-CAPTURE: Room(s) for Imperfection” by Federica Patti.
“Emilio Vavarella: RE-CAPTURE: Room(s) for Imperfection”
“Errori e tecnologia: Emilio Vavarella a Bologna”
“Re-Capture. Room (s) for Imperfection. Solo show di Emilio Vavarella”
- The Ashley Madison database includes 857 mysterious lesbian fembots profiles and in 69 occasions these fembots messaged each other.
- Special thanks to Annalee Newitz for her help with interpreting the bot-related data and to Kevin Ramsay for the sound editing.
- Developed with the support of a Critical Media Practice Mellon Grant from the Film Study Center at Harvard University and additional support from GALLLERIAPIÙ.