Voices and Voids

Responding to current concerns about the ubiquity of voice assistants, this artistic research focuses on building a series of performative artifacts that aim to challenge AI and ML technologies, and to examine automation through the prism of “ghost work” that constantly support these systems. By allowing AI agents to listen to our most private conversations, we become receptive to this mediated care, while forgetting or ignoring how much these automated interactions have been pre-scripted. While these interactions cultivate a sense of familiarization with the non-human, they also corroborate the impact of Late Capitalism and the Anthropocene. Within these contradictions we see an opportunity to reclaim, examine, and ultimately transcode this data through an interdisciplinary performance project, by developing embodied experiments using a combination of design, data-driven art, cyber crafts, found-object and traditional percussion instruments, spoken word, and movement. Initially conceived as a live performance and installation event, our changed environment during the COVID-19 pandemic inspired us to pivot to the medium of net art.

This project is the result of an artistic research collaboration with Afroditi Psarra and Bonnie Whiting

To explore the project visit: https://voicesandvoids.net/
For more about our process, take a look at our blog at: blog.voicesandvoids.net

Grant: Mellon Faculty Fellows 2019 Grant, from the Mellon Foundation and College of Arts and Sciences - University of Washington

Artist talk:
Desjardins, A., Psarra, A., and Whiting, B. (2020).
Everyday Voices and Voids: Reclaiming and Transcoding Voice Interaction Data as Performance . Artist Talk. ISEA'20.

Psarra, Afroditi & Desjardins, Audrey & Whiting, Bonnie. Voices+Voids: Reclaiming and Transcoding Our Data as Performance at Seattle Channel, November 20, 2020.

Desjardins, A., Psarra, A., Whiting, B. (2021)
Voices and Voids: Subverting Voice Assistant Systems through Performative Experiments, In Proc. C&C'21, New York, ACM Press. (acceptance rate: 23.1%)
PDF / DOI / Video