ghosts of data past

software and room installation / 2023

ghosts of data past is a software installation dealing with our cultural projections onto artificial intelligence. It works with our fears and fascinations around it, as well as with our anthropomorphization of AI.


documentation of the chat app

The installation consists of a server case that is deformed and molten-looking. It still houses actual computer hardware including a display. This shows a QR code leading the viewers to a custom-made chat app on their own devices. They now witness a never-ending „ghostly“ conversation generated by AI.

The nature of this conversation is hazy: Is it an interview or an intimate conversation? Is it lovers or strangers writing? At times the conversation is seductively lifelike while at other times falling into senselessness when the grammar fails or part of the conversation gets repeated over and over. The selfies that get sent in between the chat messages likewise oscillate. Sometimes looking like real people, sometimes hardly looking human.

Two datasets were collected for this work: The first consists of an actual conversation I held with an applied ethicist, discussing human-AI relations. This discussion was mixed with a staged conversation between two performers: one playing an artist, the other a scientist. These performers were talking more intimately, focusing on emotions and their relationship.
The second dataset is made up of images: selfies of the four participants which were taken throughout the project.

With these two datasets, AIs were trained. Integrated into the chat app they generate the conversation in real-time on the computer hardware in the installation.

server object

server object