Part of Modern Love

Social Turkers

Lauren Lee McCarthy

2013 – Video – duration 1 minute 49 seconds

Lauren Lee McCarthy is an artist examining social relationships in the time of surveillance, automation and algorithmic living. For Social Turkers, Lauren Lee McCarthy went on 20 dates with people she met on an online dating site called OkCupid.

She used her phone to stream these dates to the Internet. She paid remote workers on a site called Amazon Mechanical Turk to watch the stream, interpret what was happening, and direct her on what to do or say next. These directions were communicated to her via text message and she had to perform them immediately. What if we could receive real-time feedback on our social interactions? Would third party monitors be better suited to interpret and make decisions for the parties involved? Could this make us more aware in our relationships, shift us out of normal patterns and open us to unexpected possibilities? 


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