Conspiracy of Interference is a media sculpture that provides social commentary on our present reliance on media and data, developments of machine learning, and crippling consequences of techno-capitalism. The overarching process is to elucidate how machine culture affects our emotions during the pandemic.
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has swept across the globe, infecting over 42 million people and causing over 1.1 million fatalities by the end of October, 2020. This rare moment coincided with a recent rise of nonstop cable news, social media, recommendation engines, mobile devices, and machine learning. In its wake, humanity – as well as tech companies – has had to reassess how it should structure its society, even in areas not directly affected by healthcare concerns. The convergence of a pandemic, technological advances, and social challenges has highlighted not only a need for global cooperation, but also unearthed constant interference of our reality and morality by ubiquitous machine culture.
A dystopian political reality, crumbling social standards, and an increasingly contentious relationship with mother nature is revealing the precarity of our civilization, even at its supposed peak. New media plays a critical role in creating this perfect storm, and despite our illusion of choice, we are all reacting to the situation along largely predictable lines fed through various media channels that are rapidly mutating – perhaps even faster than the virus itself. The ongoing epidemic and the ensuing contagion of social phenomena, political upheavals, protests, and anti-protests can be adequately described as a performance. Humans are taking direction from machines of their own making. To this end, communication technologies and corporations have anticipated and prepared us for these new orders and transformations.
The relationship between epidemics and media culture has grown in complexity and impact with development of 24-hour news channels, the Internet, social networks, user tracking and surveillance, artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms shaping our thoughts and knowledge bases. While today’s connected world seems better prepared for a rapid spread of infectious diseases which may enable early warning systems, international coordinations, and scientific responses, the same media machineries generate unprecedented volatility, social divisions, and regressive governmental interventions. Hysteria and apathy – both unacceptable extremes – seem like the most likely social reactions. Given that there are an increasing number of outbreaks of infectious diseases in modernity, the current discourse of epidemics and our responses will accelerate divisions in our societies.
- Aula (Wroclaw, Poland); 2/12 - 4/12/2020
- Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) diploma project at the Academy of Fine Arts in Wroclaw