Mark IJzerman

Conversations with Crustaceans

The installation confronts viewers with technologies that are increasingly prominent in commercial automation processes, such as text-generating algorithms and text-to-speech, but in the context of the ecological crises. The question posed by this installation, is "Can we communicate with the non-human in the future, and what would they have to say about the mess that we find ourselves in?".

In this highly speculative installation, a collection of crustaceans seems to "understand" what is being said with the help of a speech-to-text algorithm. This is fed to a GPT-3 chatbot, trained to answer from the future crustaceans' perspective. They answer mildly cynically, 'gossiping' about humans and their ecological doings. The crustaceans are given a voice, and the generated text is spoken through a text-to-speech algorithm. In this way, it allows the visitor to enter into a conversation. Crustaceans were chosen because these marine animals are little anthropomorphized. Though we all know a talking fish, a talking duck mussel creates alienation more quickly.