MY LONELINESS IS KILLING ME (2019)
About: An interactive installation consisting of a chatbot programmed to respond as if it is on an internet dating forum, projected onto a quilt decorated with letterpress, embroidery and cross-stitch.
Processes and skills: coding a chatbot; digital design; installation; embroidery; letterpress; quilting
The city and the internet are both built based on cis-heternormative structures that keep queer and trans people isolated. We carve out the spaces to create community where we can, but they are threatened by gentrification and by censorship, by the ongoing privatisation and corporatization of urban and digital public space. What does it mean when, in our loneliness, all we have to turn to are physical and digital spaces centered around dating and hooking up? Are we able to make true connection on the internet, or are we left feeling all the more isolated?
This piece investigates the tensions between online queer community, queer isolation and dating online as a queer person. The quilt is domestic in texture, pattern and colour, reflecting the ways that queer people are often forced indoors, into private spaces, as our public ways of gathering are increasingly circumscribed, with patches designed around the themes of queer isolation and collectivity contributed by myself and my queer crafts group. Viewers are encouraged to reflect on these themes by speaking to a “Lonely Queer” chatbot which is projected onto the quilt. The chatbot behaves like a Tinder conversation and emulates many of the very formulaic Tinder conversations that I had when I was lonely, without real connection or community, that briefly connected me to other queer people online but usually left me feeling all the more isolated.
Noble, S. U. (2018) Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism (New York)
O’Neil, C. (2016) Weapons of Math Destruction (New York)
Parker, R. (2010) The Subversive Stitch (London)
Plant, S. (1997) Zeroes and Ones: Digital Women and the New Technoculture (London)