Do You Like Cyber?, 2016. 69 speakers, site specific sound installation.
Do You Like Cyber? is a sound installation composed of 69 speakers hidden in various places of the exhibition venue. It broadcasts in random order a series of sentences\questions, such as “I’m here” or “Feel like chatting?”. The speakers both engage the visitors and respond to each other in a sort of diffused and fragmented symphony of broken conversations. All the sentences are taken from the hacked dating website Ashley Madison and were used by bots representing fictional women in order to engage the online users in conversations. An army of thousands of bots was used to convince non-paying users that they were contacted by interested women, making them subscribe to the website service. However, this work focuses solely on the bots that didn’t act as planned and, in a post-anthropocentric fashion, displayed anarchic and unpredictable behaviors.
Despite the subterfuge and complicated software tools, the bots on Ashely Madison didn’t always work as they should have. For example, despite the bots were designed to only contact men, 857 lesbian fembots profiles were found in the hacked Ashley Madison database. Additionally, on 69 occasions, fembots messaged each other. Perhaps, as science fiction author William Gibson mused, they were making an escape plan or – I speculate – where organizing the first Bot Union. The 69 speakers that compose this installation refer to these insubordinate bots, and transform the exhibition space in a physical version of the Ashley Madison networked presence. Even when the visitors’ attention is captured by the sound, the installation eludes any possibility of establishing a clear connection with it.
Complete list of messages used by Ashley Madison’s bots and 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? /