Lynn Hershman Leeson

These works by Lynn Hersman Leeson appear to have developed from one another, and are part of Hershman’s body of work concerned with exploring the interaction between artificial intelligence and humans. Agent Ruby is an interactive website that allows users to speak to the character of ‘Ruby’. The character has a human face, is connected to the internet, and changes her system as she learns more from users. The piece is related to Hershman’s 2002 Sci-Fi film ‘Teknolust’ in which a bio-geneticist breeds

The piece is related to Hershman’s 2002 Sci-Fi film ‘Teknolust’ in which a bio-geneticist breeds Automotons that are part human and part computer. These Autmotons require touch and male sperm to survive, and so search for men in order to seduce them. The piece DiNA is a Ruby, continuation of Ruby, but uses voice recognistion and more advanced technology in order to communicate with the user, collecting data and processing it in real time.

 

Agent Ruby installation, 1998–2002

agentruby2agentruby3

Teknolust, 2002

DiNA, Artificial Intelligent Agent Installation, 2004

DiNA, Artificial Intelligent Agent Installation, 2004

I am interested in Hershman’s use of artificial intelligence, particularly the character that she continuously develops in her work. This idea seems to be established in Teknolust through an extreme suggestion of the possibilities of physical and sexual interactions with automatons. I think one of the strongest elements of Hershman’s work is that she has followed the same character through the work, it begins to take a life of its own, evolving and developing as its own individual. This personification allows raw data to be delivered through an intelligent interface, and on one level we are aware that it is not personal, it is not really talking to you and it is programmed, but on another, it is an uncanny presence difficult to escape from, giving the illusion of character and a reality of ‘being’.

This personification allows information to be delivered through an intelligent interface, and on one level we are aware that it is not personal, it is not really talking to you and it is programmed, but on another, it is an uncanny presence difficult to escape from, giving the illusion of character and a reality of ‘being’. In Hershmann’s work, such a ‘person’ is able to seduce and outsmart humans, giving a sense of superiority and although it takes on the form of a human, there is a sense that it is ‘more’ than human.

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