If I wrote you a love letter would you write back? (and thousands of other questions)

If I wrote you a love letter would you write back? (and thousands of other questions)

This is an artwork from the Microwave International New Media Arts Festival 2012 by  two artists, Helen Pritchard and Winnie Soon. Helen Pritchard is an artist interested in digital art and innovation. Her works is often about co-research, co-production and co-operation. Moreover, she always makes her work by queering the data through collaborative events and collective activities. Winnie Soon is an artist and researcher who interested in network culture and data aesthetics. She always use artwork to discuss about the relationship between media, culture and communication. They cooperate to make this artwork.

They inspired by the mystery love letters which appeared suddenly at Manchester University’s Computer Department from August 1953 to May 1954. The software developers, Christopher Strachey designed a program which can combine the words randomly and formed them to a love letter. Christopher wanted the program to make the computer write love letters by itself and to make people feel touching. When the audience use the program, the computer will also write the love letter and have an interaction with the audience. The two artist, Helen and Winnie also want to use this concept to put into their artwork. In this Artwork, the two artists use the computational code to collect the texts from Twitter immediately, then the machine will turn these texts into some question and performed by a voice that with  human and non-human sound. Just like the love letters at Manchester University, the questions that listened in the artwork are also made by machine and when the audience use the machine, the sequence of the machine will also change. Actually, the result of the artwork will be changed by the action of the audiences.

In the exhibition, you see many black headphones hang up neatly on the white wall. The installation can arouse people’s curiosity to try to pick up the headphones and here what it is playing. When you listened to this machine, you feel that there is people asking you questions. Also, you will doubt that these questions are familiar to you which you have read them in the social network such as Facebook and Twitter. However, at the same time, you will listen a non human sound which make you feel that these questions are made by the machine. This artwork blurred the real world and the virtual world. This also makes you reflect that, you will type some text in the social network since you want to express your feeling before. Nevertheless, are we have the same propose now? Are we posting the texts just because we want to take other’s attention or want people to “like” us like a machine but do not have any feelings?

At last, these two artists used this method to make an artwork also inspired people that everything in the daily life are artworks too. Even the texts that we typed in daily life. You can bring out many other meanings from the things in the daily life when it combined with the electronic technology.

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