I created a narrative using only the words which my phone predicted for me.
Trees On Planet Earth, January 2020 (watercolours in handmade hardback book)
Mushroom Confidence, January 2020 (watercolour in handmade hardback book)
Predictable, January 2020 (watercolour in handmade hardback book)
'Predictable' has been donated to Brooklyn Sketchbook Library. At the library, visitors are given a random book alongside the book they've requested. I hope that my book will be given randomly. Just like predictive text, the reader will stumble upon a suggestion.
AUTHORED BY ALGORITHMS
The predictive text algorithm fabricated a romantic relationship, referring to a girl and a ‘him’, and it reads like poetry or a diary entry. This feels uncomfortable, since the narrative seems so authentic, intimate and confessional, yet it’s been created by an emotionless algorithm.
I performed the scenes which were predicted for me, making my phone's reality my own reality too. I was inspired by the algorithmically controlled YouTubers discussed by James Bridle ("even if you’re a human, you have to end up impersonating the machine").
" The narrative
seems so authentic,
intimate and confessional, yet it’s been created
by an algorithm. "
"The world froze up with a girl", March 2017 (screenshot of film)
"You're sleeping with other shapes and colours", March 2017 (screenshot of film)
"Work with the girls who code", March 2017 (screenshot of film)
I placed the algorithmic narrative within library books throughout the Bibliothèque et Archives Nationales du Québec. By placing the text within real books, my computerised author was elevated to the same status as human authors.
I have also been chatting to Daniel Temkin's 'Drunk Eliza' programme using my predictive text in order to see how algorithms interact with each other. ‘Drunk Eliza’ is a version of Weizenbaum’s ‘Eliza’, which is a proto-chatbot where people can type their problems to a programmed psychotherapist and she will respond by rephrasing their words back to them, or saying generic therapist tropes. Weizenbaum became uncomfortable with Eliza as people began to treat her like a real therapist, the same way my 'Authored by Algorithms' series has replaced the author. Temkin twists the Eliza artwork by writing it in a programming language called Entropy which decays all data over time, creating a commentary on giving up the control which programmers often want and need.