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Voices and Voids: Subverting Voice Assistant Systems through Performative Experiments

Chit Chat vignette
Chit Chat vignette
Desjardins, Audrey and Psarra, Afroditi and Whiting, Bonnie. 2021. Voices and Voids: Subverting Voice Assistant Systems through Performative Experiments. In Creativity and Cognition (C&C '21). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, Article 29, 1–10. DOI:

Responding to concerns such as privacy, surveillance, and the commodification of personal data with regards to voice assistants, this artistic research focuses on creating performative artifacts and vignettes that challenge artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies. By allowing AI voice assistants to listen to our most private conversations, we become receptive to their mediated care, while forgetting or ignoring how much these automated interactions have been pre-scripted. With our project Voices and Voids, we reclaim, examine, and ultimately transcode these voice assistant data through interdisciplinary performance and Post-Internet Art. In this paper, we thematically describe 12 vignettes which represent embodied and sonic experiments using a combination of design, data-driven art, cyber crafts, found-object and traditional percussion instruments, spoken word, and movement. We conclude with a discussion of how the experiments worked as a multifaceted whole, and how we used interdisciplinary methods as a central approach.

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