TodaysArt18 – The Grey Space In The Middle – Tasha Orlova

The Last Job on Earth
Lending a human interface to a machine

Installation 1,5mx1,5mx3m - Performer, program, computer, costume, table, chair and curtains

Produced as duo Arvid&Marie with Arvid Jense

At the dawn of yet another wave of automation, more and more jobs are replaced by machines. Machines have even begun to make the humans work for example on Amazon’s controversial Mechanical Turk marketplace. Are we observing the beginning of a merge between machines and people into a perfect worker? The nature of the human mind differs greatly from artificial brains -disembodied, networked systems with almost perfect memory of data- so what is the expertise left for humans to accomplish in an increasingly productive environment? . “The Last Job On Earth” is a speculative exploration of super-productive collaborations leading to misunderstandings between the two entities.

In this speculative universe, intimacy and expressivity become commodities, “some of the last employable human skills” according to the fictional company Human Industries. The audience is the witness of a speculative job: humans being employed by a specialized program as an emotional machine and a visual interface. Visitors can communicate with a computer program through this human interface. The conversational program generates answers that are then spoken aloud by the human interpreter who adds facial expressions and emotions. The employee of the program, the interpreter, is completely alienated through this process must rely completely on the program as they can’t know what the visitor is asking. The conversational program itself is only logic and cannot truly understand the dynamics of human speech, therefore depending completely on the human employee for emotional interpretation. An odd situation of dis-balance is created for the visitor to observe and decrypt.

Selected exhibitions

Today’s art, Den Haag (NL) 2018

Salone Del Mobile, Milan (IT) 2017