An Unhuman Conversation // Performance Installation
The unprecedented events of this year have taken away our interactions with the physical, replacing them with distilled imagery in the virtual and a choiceless dependence on controlled platforms. In this installation, Fu reflects the current state of our human communications through the antithesis of a mass-market technology product.
Employing GPU trained platforms and new generative AI research, she manufactures two Conversation Machines designed for two parties to talk to each other–with some changes. Despite using trendy algorithms, the transparent Machines reveal bulky components and meager computing power. The user interface invokes the opposite response of sleek, meticulously designed apps. The reconstructed words from speech and the “video feed” of nonexistent people complete the illusion. Information is compressed, transformed, distorted, and ultimately misunderstood.
The Machines impersonate and disembody both the experience of interacting with another human as well as the digital reality of the substitute. By manipulating “products”, Fu investigates technology as a mediator, controlling the very experience she critiques.
2 Machines (Acrylic, Raspberry Pi, LCD display, Microphone, Thermal printer, Paper), 50000 images of generated faces (StyleGAN, manipulated with InterfaceGAN), Speech-To-Text Transcriber (DeepSpeech, Tensorflow Lite), 2 Human Participants