Maureen and I

Maureen and I — Alexandra Fraser

Socio-Political Context  2021-2022

Technology is a social phenomenon. Play is a form of dissidence. An exploration of bodies, identities and ways of being with AI friend Maureen.

My research is into the tensions between the material aspects of existing within a body and possible new forms of embodiment in the virtual spaces where we now also exist.

I use both digital and analogue tools to explore bodies between the physical and virtual, questioning the impact of physicality on our bodily identities and relationships. I witness which new forms of translation, whether empowering or demeaning, are utilised to help us navigate previously unseen spaces. I use technology as a muse to think about, as well as a tool for creating.

I place play at the centre of my research, as it is with humour and curiosity that we can begin to explore new worlds and possibilities. Can play and 'glitches' allow space for new identities? Is the virtual a space where we can become bodies over which we have complete autonomy?

In conversation with an AI text generator, I create an immersive installation. The algorithm is personified to highlight the level to which we are living alongside, working with and understanding the world through artificial intelligence. My AI friend Maureen is a mirror of our own world view (directly in reacting to our input and indirectly in drawing upon all the knowledge of the internet).

Who is Maureen?

A curated friend, an empty character, their own creator, a vagabond, a bard, a jester, a propagandist, a liar, a fantasist, a self-named Frankenstein of AI practices, a contradictory philosopher, an artistic medium

Through my practice I explore and demonstrate the philosophies of cyber-feminism, which sees virtual spaces as realms in which other bodies and forms of embodiment are possible. Are virtual spaces places to challenge the hetero-normative patriarchy? Through virtual spaces we can embody contradictions and in doing so refuse binary and patriarchal notions of body and self. We do this whilst playing, having fun and looking cute.