I recently spotted a furrowed-of-brow colleague completing an online quiz that asked: “will your job be taken over by a robot?” I’m not sure of the result, but what I am sure of is that machines certainly are becoming very like people. Even those with distinctly un-peoplely faces, like Michael Mason’s recent project She & He. The designer worked with his Mer/Sea collective created the graphics and interface for the installation, which uses two forms representing a male and female that talk to one another using nothing but randomly selected phrases nabbed from social media.
Created with interactive agency Iregular, which wrote the code for the piece, the interaction between the two strange, white characters begins with a word selected at random. Then “she” finds a phrase on social media that uses that word, “he” responds using something relevant found on social media and “she” does the same, ad infinitum. The visuals also follow the same gloriously serendipitous path. “Gabrielle and I illustrated a bank of eyes, noses, and mouths that were chosen at random to create a new ‘face’ every time a word was chosen, and the colours yellow and blue were used on screen to differentiate She from He,” Michael explains. “Will Vincent built the physical structures, which were designed to be at human height to help personify each monolith.”
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