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Lynn Hershman has always been attracted to digital tools and cinematic metaphors that reflect our time, such as privacy in an era of surveillance, personal identity in a time of pervasive manipulation. The 21st centuries technologies – genetics, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and robotics have opened a Pandora’s box that will affect the destiny of the entire human race. In an era of digital and human biological sampling, our relationship to computer based virtual life forms that are autonomous and self replicating will shape the fate of our species. Recent works construct alternate realities with ingrained notions of identity, expanding the possibilities of an artwork’s outcome by opening it not only to the viewer and but now to network-based participation.
Modeled on Thomas Edison’s stock ticker, Synthia Stock Ticker is a networked sculpture that personifies changes in the stock market in real time. Instead of ticker tape, the miniaturized stock ticker houses a small monitor that projects the environment of a female character named Synthia. Synthia’s “drive” is composed of accumulated stock data; compiled data is translated into sixteen base behaviors that symbolize market performance. Guided by 2% changes in stock market trading, Synthia reacts in real time to changes in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, NASDAQ, S&P 500, and Russell Cap indexes. For instance, if the market is hot, she turns to fire, dances, or shops at Christian Dior. If the market is down, she chain-smokes, has nightmares, or shops at Goodwill.
Agent Ruby 2 is an Artificial Intelligent Web Agent that is shaped by encounters with users-thereby simultaneously being part of the real and virtual worlds. Ruby converses with users with synchronized voice, remembers their questions and names and has moods corresponding to whether or not she likes them. Her brain interacts with itself by cannibalizing, morphing and modifying information in a continual breeding set that lives via the interaction of data.
Lynn Hershman has worked in film, photography, video, installation, interactive and net based works. She has had
over 200 exhibitions internationally, completed 53 videotapes, 8 interactive installations, 3 web based installations
and two feature films, and edited the book “Clicking In”. She was given the ZKM Media Arts Award, was a Flintridge
Fellow for Lifetime Achievements in the Visual Arts, and received an Independent Spirit Award Nomination. In 1999 she
was awarded the Golden Nica for interactive arts at Ars Electronica, and in 2003, received an Alfred P. Sloan
Foundation award for her film Teknolust. She has had retrospectives at the National Gallery of Canada, ICA and will
have a retrospective organized by the Henry Gallery in Seattle that will tour the U.S., Canada and Europe beginning
2005. A monograph of her work is scheduled for release in 2005 by the University of California Press. Her work is in the
collections of Donald Hess, Arturo Schwarz, The Museum of Modern Art, The William Lehmbruch Museum, the ZKM, the
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The National Gallery of Canada and others.