In the air Tonight
Are we able to imagine a moment in future, when chatbot is capable of becoming a successful synthetic therapist, protecting us from reality and turning alienation into salvation? And what would be the success in this case?
New Haven is a project based on the communication between chatbot and human. Chatbot, the main component of this installation, is programmed to serve as a comforting companion that is always ready to talk. This uncanny relationship between human and non-human allows the authors to speculate on topics of escapism, emotional labor and (un)intentional isolation.
Is it crucial for our everyday life to feel safe and secure, even if this feeling is false (or synthetic)? In the intersection of virtual and physical worlds, how can we describe the reality and where are its limits? Is it necessary for our mental health to maintain conflict-free relationships? Can the lack of connection with everyday life become a reason to deny the reality? In the future where AI serves us as a compliant friend, what is the emotional value of relationships between humans? And finally, does the chatbot have rights to disagree?
For the drone Vision, we propose an interactive installation that will combine video projection, music, and dialogue between a user (human) and a chatbot (non-human) developed for this project. To visualize the interaction with the chatbot, we will develop a chatroom interface and project it on a semi-closed structure built for the installation (it can be also a wall or on any suitable surface). To communicate with the chatbot the user will use the keyboard. In order to enhance the user’s immersiveness into the conversation with the chatbot, we will use music and video developed for this project that will overlap with the chatroom. In this manner, we want to create an isolated and closed environment where nothing will distract the participants from the dialogue. The chatbot will be based on an open source framework available on GitHub. We will use a self-learning solution instead of a hard-coded option to make each dialogue unique and unpredictable neither for participants nor for us. We will also ask all the participants a permission to document their conversations to conduct a follow-up research on the topic of human and non-human relationships, which will be published afterward on our website.
In terms of budget, the minimum budget will allow us to develop the project fully in terms of the content but probably we will have to simplify the building process of the installation. With the maximum budget, we're expecting to perform better solutions and materials for the installation (e.g. build a semi-closed structure for projection, rent two beamers to enhance the immersiveness of the installation, etc.)
In the Air Tonight is a collaborative project between contemporary art curator and journalist Vera Kavaleuskaya, researcher and visual artist Sasha Smirnova, and musician and programmer Eugene Markin. With their speculative works, they pose questions about intricate human relationships with novel technologies in the near future and now.
Video and music production: 2 days 1700 SEK/day (max) 1300 SEK/day (min)
Interface development 4 days: 1300 SEK/day (max) 860 SEK/day (min)
Chatbot development 2 days: 1300 SEK/day (max) 860 SEK/day (min)
Material and installation: 1 beamer 1700 SEK; one iMac 1700 SEK; surface for projection; 0 SEK (we can use any available white wall)
Travel expenses: 1380 SEK Helsinki - Stockholm, round-trip for 2 people, 1560 SEK Barcelona - Stockholm, round trip for one person
We will train a self-learning chatbot for the installation. It’s quite a long process that requires everyday conversations with the chatbot. We would be happy if other drones could help us to make our synthetic companion smarter.
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