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Recruitment Gone Wrong

Thomson, JR; Craighead, AM; (2017) Recruitment Gone Wrong. [Artefact]. video and sound, flat screen, unicol stand, 4 ventriloquist hald masks, 4 office chairs, robotics and electronics, pulleys and cords. UK.

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In July 2013, a National Security Agency (NSA) recruitment drive held in Wisconsin University was derailed by students, who took the two recruiters to task over lies told by the agency as revealed by the whistleblower Edward Snowden data leak. A few days later, an audio recording of this exchange was released by The Guardian newspaper. Recruitment Gone Wrong reenacts this exchange by animating each of its four main characters through the automation of four ventriloquists’ half-masks. Unlike conventional ventriloquists’ dummies, half-masks can be worn by an individual, transforming a person into a comical ‘living’ dummy, and so although each mask will be moving according to its assigned character even when suspended in the gallery space, a visitor or group of visitors can choose to wear any of them at prescribed times, thus channeling the words of the students and/or recruiters through their own (cyborg) bodies. We think of Recruitment Gone Wrong as an automated mechanical reenactment and a kind of karaoke, constantly re-breathing life into a covert audio recording that touches on issues of our human rights to freedom of information and privacy in our contemporary world –issues that we think comprise part of the critical framework surrounding the need for Open Data, Open source culture and net neutrality. For us, this exchange between students and recruiters highlights a burgeoning culture, where we are encouraged to accept ubiquitous invasions of privacy for commercial and political gain as a ‘new normal.’

Type: Artefact
Title: Recruitment Gone Wrong
Location: UK
Publisher version: http://www.thomson-craighead.net/recruitment.html
Additional information: Commissioned by Arts Council England with support from Open Data Institute
Keywords: recruitment, gone, wrong, recruitment gone wrong, art, digital art, Open Data Institute, The New Observatory, thomson, craighead
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > The Slade School of Fine Art
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1574044
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