LAUREN is a meditation on the smart home, the tensions between intimacy vs privacy, convenience vs agency they present, and the role of human labor in the future of automation.
I attempt to become a human version of Amazon Alexa, a smart home intelligence for people in their own homes. The performance lasts several days. It begins with an installation of a series of custom designed networked smart devices (including cameras, microphones, switches, door locks, faucets, and other electronic devices). I then remotely watch over the person 24/7 and control all aspects of their home. I aim to be better than an AI because I can understand them as a person and anticipate their needs. The relationship that emerges falls in the ambiguous space between human-machine and human-human.
Objects from LAUREN performance, 2018
Lauren McCarthy is an artist based in Los Angeles and Brooklyn whose work explores social and technological systems for being a person and interacting with other people. She makes software, performances, videos, and other things on the internet. She is the creator of p5.js.
Lauren has exhibited at Ars Electronica, Conflux Festival, SIGGRAPH, Onassis Cultural Center, IDFA DocLab, and the Japan Media Arts Festival, and worked on installations for the London Eye and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. She holds an MFA from UCLA and a BS Computer Science and BS Art and Design from MIT.
She is an Assistant Professor at UCLA Design Media Arts. She is a Sundance Institute Fellow, and previously resident at CMU STUDIO for Creative Inquiry, Eyebeam, NYU ITP, and Ars Electronica / QUT TRANSMIT³.