A solo exhibition by !Mediengruppe Bitnik
Curated by Doreen A. Ríos
Produced by Patricia Siller
Ashley Madison Angels at work in Mexico, 2018
Ashley Madison Angels at Work in Mexico is part of a series of works investigating Ashley Madison, a Canadian online dating service that is marketed around the world for married people looking for a love affair. During July and August 2015, the anonymous group The Impact Team stole and published all internal Ashley Madison data, including the website's code and functionality, customer data and CEO emails. The data breach revealed that, with a disproportionate number of male human subscribers on the site, Ashley Madison had created an army of 75,000 female chatbots to attract the 32 million male users to expensive conversations.
!Mediengruppe Bitnik uses Ashley Madison as a case study to ask questions about the current relationship between humans and machines, privacy on the Internet and the use of virtual platforms to interrupt physical development. The artists adapt the work to the location of each exhibition with the specific data of the host city such as Paris, San Francisco, Berlin, Athens, London and, with this exhibition, for the first time: Mexico.
In CONEXIÓN (IN)DISCRETA, viewers encounter eye to eye with the fembot embodied as seductive machine creatures with robotic technology, artificial voices and human faces based on idealized beauty standards.
For Ashley Madison Angels at work in Mexico, !Mediengruppe Bitnik uses the dialogues used by Ashley Madison in their bots to create an audiovisual choreography within the exhibition space.
"Is anyone home, hahaha?", "Are u busy?", "What brings you here?"
Praga 33 will become the place of the incarnation of 5 bots that were located closest to this space: 5 of the 237 that were active in the center of Mexico City at the time of data breach. Each of these bots has a name, an age and a specific location and provided entertainment for some of the 65,866 registered users in Mexico.
This piece offers a peculiar look at the consumption of social platforms in Mexico and, without doubt, it is unique in its type because it establishes a direct relationship with the local context and the use of internet, as well as it deals with current questions, within the political context such as the idea of he robot as a political entity, the knowledge and dissemination of fake news, the line between the virtual and the physical, the disruptive use of digital platforms and, of course, the implications of ignoring the dynamics behind these new technologies.
This piece was commissioned by Fundación Telefónica for Gallery Weekend CDMX and previously by Center Culturel Suisse in Paris and Swissnex San Francisco.