Ghost Project: Games Salon by Angela Washko

We are so delighted to include this documentation from Angela Washko‘s Ghost Project.  Washko is an artist, writer and facilitator devoted to creating new forums for discussions of feminism in the spaces most hostile toward it. She is a Visiting Assistant Professor at Carnegie Mellon University. Washko’s work will be featured in the upcoming book “Mass Effect: Art and the Internet in the 21st Century” from The New Museum and MIT Press. Her Ghost Project furthers her investigations in disembodied space. The text of this post was provided by Washko. 

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For Game Salon at the VIA space in Pittsburg, Washko featured another installment in “Free Will Mode” – a series of videos in which the artist uses The Sims to place human Artificial Intelligence into architectural situations which test the constraints of their ability to rethink the environments they’ve been placed in.

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Despite the absurdity of these built architectural anomalies, they expose a greater cultural phenomenon within people – the extent to which we accept the hand we’ve been dealt (architecturally, politically, socially, economically). When operating in free will mode, the AI in this strategic life simulation game eat when hungry, piss when necessary, sleep when tired, socialize when bored…but they never alter the environment they’ve inherited, even if it kills them.

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The videos reveal the artificial idiocy built into the AI as well as the cultural biases built into the overall game design as the Sims world rapidly breaks down when operating outside of the buy-nicer-houses-get-better-jobs-and-get-married-and-have-babies model.

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In this version of the work, Washko will create two identical architectural spaces with identical Sims and perform by operating cameras on both but otherwise allowing the AI to perform for her.

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