A Machine of Loving Grace

Machine of Loving GraceWho’s looking at you, kid?

UPDATE: APR 2014 We hit a few integration speed bumps on the way to making our lovely Grace, which meant that she wasn’t available for the City Fictions event at the splendid FuturEverything this year. She is still very much in development and will be viciously moping in a corner at an event near you sometime soon.

As a contribution to  The Tools for Unknown Futures strand of FutureEverything this year, I’m working in collaboration with long time friend and art-engineer Spencer Marsden to make a CCTV camera that talks back.

A playful collision between maker culture, NSA-fueled surveillance fear and Big Data mining. A Machine of Loving Grace spends as little time profiling its targets as your average social media pal. It constructs ill-thought-out judgements, posts them online and never, ever looks back (unless you return for more). An unemployed CCTV camera, down-at-heel and lost in the early 21st Century, it plugs itself into the wash of information and tries to make connections.

Surveillance and tracking is now the default position: with 90% of the world’s data generated in the past two years, perhaps our most significant contribution is our data. When we’re not having our data intercepted by the optic nerve of spooks, we’re complicit in its creation. Forget our governmental spy-eyes, we’re responsible for a full throttled gush of information via social media, our anti-social phones phoning home and the mass of tracking data we blissfully sign up to supply in return for the promise of loyalty card points we rarely use.

Looking to the near future, it’s time to re-imagine how we want to live together. No longer heads down, our thumbs self-declaring our intentions and failures, successes and whereabouts. Taking the first tentative steps into a grown up connected world, what do we want to find there?

Follow and contribute to the robot’s exploits using the hashtag #futrmlg