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Banz & Bowinkel

Bot 05

Woven wool yarn, Android application, tablet
264 x 264 cm
103.9 x 103.9 in
Edition 2 of 3

The dystopian vision of a computer-controlled society is at the core of Banz & Bowinkel’s work BOTS, a num[1]ber of algorithmically controlled humanoid avatars that are emerging from physical jacquard-woven carpets via Augmented Reality (AR). The work reflects the synthesis and abstraction of human behavioral patterns as a formalized social study, letting the avatars act out simulated performances in real time while being confined to the limited perimeters of the carpets. They cannot change the rules of their reality. Enslaved by our devices and computed environments, the work reminds us of the confines of our own digitalized world: systemically charting our activities and nudging our behavior, the (invisible) bots that surround us on the daily have us question the nature of our decision-making. Our autonomy becomes a mere specter of the autonomous sys[1]tems we created, shifting the distribution of power and politics under our watch. The carpets’ pattern refers to the Jacquard Loom invented by Joseph-Marie Jacquard, a French weaver and merchant, in 1804. Not only did it transform patterned cloth production but it also represented a revolution in human-machine interac[1]tion in its use of binary code – punch cards with a punched hole or no punched hole – to instruct a machine (the loom) to carry out an automated process (weaving). The Jacquard machines were an important concep[1]tual precursor to the development of computer programming and data entry, used by the computer pioneer Charles Babbage to store programs in his Analytical Engine. – Marlies Wirth