Algorithmic Narration of Human Experience

Our access to the world is increasingly narrated by computer algorithms—from Markov chains used to generate news article summaries, to traveling the globe through immersive 360-degree panoramas, to organizing our email inbox, to personalized advertisements. Yet what happens when our faith in algorithms as responsible agents of such mediation becomes frustrated? What is that faith built upon in the first place? How sturdy are its foundations?

Over the course of my MFA program in Experimental and Documentary Arts, I have designed and constructed a series of interactive cameras that explores the implications of algorithmic narration of human experience; a reverse image search camera, a photosphere camera that shifts perspective based on orientation, a camera gun with facial detection safety features, a first person shooter game, and a face activated screen. The algorithmic logic framing these cameras’ vantage points is at times familiar and comforting and at times confrontational and dissociative.

These works invite participants to survey the emerging algorithmic landscape enveloping and reorienting the relationship between producer, subject, and consumer of digital media—to consider a world where humans are fleshy nodes within larger fields of algorithmic curation.

- Aaron Kutnick