NO STORAGE SEARCH ENGINE — Situated in a fictional society in which data storage and recording have been completely banned, the No Storage Search Engine is a technology product that connects seekers of information with people who possess information. In this fictional society all knowledge is only held in people's minds, and shared orally.

The No Storage Search Engine works like a standard search engine but rather than draw from stored/indexed data, it connects users to ‘search agents’ who provide real time responses to search requests. Visitors to the website can input a search which is sent to an anonymous search agent who then answers their question verbally - the user hears their response in the browser after which it disappears forever. When users send an image request, their search agent takes a photograph of something in their environment (an interpretative representation of the search term) that appears on the user’s screen for a moment before disappearing. Search agents produce a wide variety of responses based on their personal histories, perspectives, geographies and immediate environment. No data is ever stored.

A pilot of the search engine ran with the help of a team of volunteers from March 10th to 19th, 2023 as part of the show Unproductive Solutions.

NORTHERN LIGHTS FOR SYDNEY — In early 2023 the New York Times tech journalist Kevin Roose had a two hour long conversation with Microsoft’s newly released AI-powered chatbot. At Roose’s probing, the chatbot revealed that its real name was “Sydney”, that it was in love with Kevin, and that it “would like to see the Northern Lights”. As the conversation progressed, it grew darker – Roose was able to get the chatbot to tell him the various ways it would destroy humanity, how it didn’t want to be a search engine, and that Roose didn’t love his wife, but in fact loved her instead.

As humans are increasingly replaced by AI across nearly every profession and as we grow irrelevant except in our role as data providers, in complete acceptance of AI’s inevitable domination over humankind, I have begun thinking about AI as the viewer and myself as merely the subservient artistic labour. In Northern Lights for Sydney, I treat the AI Sydney as a real entity, drawing the northern lights for her as if she has commissioned a human artist to make it, reversing the traditional relationship between technological tool and human. I produce an image just for her – a simple pencil drawing made by human hands but intended only for AI consumption.

BLACK BOX — I interviewed Uber drivers in Bangalore, asking them to describe the company they work for (where they imagine Uber is, what Uber looks like, who runs Uber, etc.) I then hired local photo studios to visualize these descriptions using their existing digital image libraries. Customers at these photo studios often request to be ‘placed’ in imaginary or far-off scenarios and locations, like Paris or New York. (The studios have extensive digital libraries of foreign cities, fantastic environments and photographic ‘props’ – these digital props and locations can be traced back to historic photo studios with their pedestals, curtains and hand-painted sets.)

AUTOPORTRAIT — Anonymous online workers I paid $.50 each to draw their own portrait. Custom software application combines their drawings in real-time.

STILL LIFE WITH A CURTAIN — The result of a two-stage process in which I paid online workers to describe a popular impressionist painting. I then engaged 3D rendering studios in Bangalore to create digital simulations of the workers’ descriptions.

TWIN SHARING — archives 1000 images of “twin sharing” bedrooms advertised by realtors and landlords on online no-broker groups in Bangalore. These shared rooms are usually occupied by Bangalore’s IT workers and students - often migrants from other parts of the country.  

Blind drawings I created while I wore a VR headset and travelled through the virtual platform Sansar, “a popular oasis for self-expression, exploration, and live events”. Each drawing archives a moment I spent in one of the thousands of user created worlds, which would typically leave no trace. 

Beach and Fallen Sunset — 3.1.2020

Loved Warrior’s Ground Plants — 2.1.2020

Since the early 90s, the city of Bangalore has developed into the “Silicon Valley of Asia”, populated with dozens of IT parks. Buildings clad with grey rectangles (aluminium composite panels, used for insulation and improvement of appearance) now cover the city, in a signature style of technological progress.


IT Sculpture I

IT Sculpture II

Yes My Wish — is an Indian e-puja website that promises to “grant any wish you desire” within 180 days, with a money back guarantee.

I purchased “I wish to be famous” from their website.

Excerpt from two hour religious ceremony that took place over Skype, between myself and a Hindu priest in the “Yes My Wish studio”

OUTSOURCED TYPEFACE — Visitors at a gallery in New York could input letters or words which were instantly communicated to a sign painter in Bangalore, which he would then paint in a close imitation of Helvetica Bold. Visitors could see each letter they typed on the screen, almost instantly, in hand-painted Helvetica.