Lauren Lee McCarthy

Episode 9 — How Algorithmic Are You?

A conversation with artist Lauren Lee McCarthy. We discuss how her work is an effort in helping our species take responsibility for the machines we build.

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Lauren Lee McCarthy

p5.js

Julia Scher

Stelarc


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I’m excited to share this fascinating conversation with LA-based artist Lauren Lee McCarthy. She reminds us that, actually, creating technology is one of the most human of activities. Her work is largely about trying to get us to take responsibility for the machines we are building. She suggests, that we need to get “out of our dorm room” in how we approach machine learning and the way it’s changing the world. She states, “the difference between machines and humans is that humans can reflect on their values to make decisions about the future. Machines can’t.” I hope you’ll enjoy learning about this emerging artist who is poised to make a big impact.


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Roddy: Hello, this is Informer. The show that reveals the latest ideas from artists, thinkers, and technologists, and former invites you behind the screen to meet the people, sketching, hacking, and imagining the next versions of our world. I'm Roddy, Schrock your host. And in each episode, I spotlight creative minds grappling with a changing world through art technology, or often both. I really enjoyed this conversation with Lauren Lee McCarthy. Sometimes I joke that this podcast is really just a way for me to reconnect with people that I've been wanting to talk to for a long time. And this was certainly the case in today's conversation. In this episode, Lauren speaks incredibly eloquently about the ways in which technology is actually one of the most human of activities. And given that machines are complex, but also that humans are complex. There's no reason that we can't get a better handle on the way that machine learning and algorithms are affecting us. I love it when she quips that we need to get out of our dorm rooms and our thinking about technology. I think that's absolutely accurate. I hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as I had making it and catching up with Lauren.


Lauren: I mean, as a kid, I was always really into, I was always just like cutting things apart and rearranging and especially I loved like arranging little, these little like Playmobile people. And it's funny to me because now my art is kind of like arranging people in different ways. But I think like the first time, I really remember having art experiences that really I don't know, open sort of opened me to the idea of being an artist was in college. When I was I took like a first intro art class when I was actually at, it was, it was strange because I was always interested in art, but because I was good at math, it was like, oh, you should go to tech school. So I ended up, you know, at, at MIT where there's very, most people don't go there as undergrads to, to major in art. But I ended up taking an art class with Julia Cher who does a lot of work involving surveillance and also just had a really interesting practice in terms of the way her work kind of blended into everyday life. And so that was, you know, hugely influential for me. I remember just everything, every reference she was showing that first semester, I like, you know, they sort of provoked and disturbed me and I couldn't wrap my head around them. And I was just I was just totally hooked after that.


Roddy: What were some of your earliest memories of working with technology in whatever form that might've taken?


Lauren: Yeah. I was always, I mean, like as a kid, I was always just making things and I think I realized at some point at the hardware store, they had like electronic, you know, wires and light bulbs and very basic just home electronic kind of stuff. And so I would go there with my, like $2 of allowance or whatever I had or I'd save it up and I'd buy like, just these random, I buys like a light bulb and a battery and a wire and I'd come home and try to connect them and see if the light bulb would turn on. And I, you know, I knew nothing about what I was doing, so I was like, oh no. And then I would wait until next week when I had like two more dollars and go back and try and like, get like a bigger battery, maybe that will do it.


Lauren: Right. Cause I was like the earliest memory. And then I think, you know, we've got a computer and in school, like in elementary school, I remember. And then, you know, the internet like slowly phased in when I was in like, I guess middle school. So I definitely remember the time like before all that. But yeah, I think I was just always really interested in kind of trying things and making things. And then I also had like one experience as a, I don't remember how old I was, I guess I was in probably in middle school or high school. I really wanted to do like a soccer camp and my parents really wanted me to do a computer camp. So we compromised and I had to, I did one and then I could go to soccer camp and I remember it was like we were learning the basics.


Lauren: We were learning visual, basic programming. And I had, I didn't know what computer programming was at all. And I was so kind of like mopey about it, but it was kind of cool. And then I remember in the last, like at the end of it, they had kind of like little superlatives for each, you know, a little word for each person in mine was most likely to become a future graphics programmer. And I was like, that's so dumb. I don't even know what graphics programming is. And then, you know, fast forward to now and like native graphics, programming library. So


Roddy: There you go. They saw they saw something. I mean, that's, you know, it's interesting, so many people I talk to for this podcast and just, you know, my work in general, they often describe those early days of just like exploration and just making things and not really having a real sense of boundary between the act of invention or art or technology or self-expression. And I I'd love to hear a little bit how you went from that background and winning recognition as the most likely to become a graphic coder or programmer, you know, like how you went from that to the point now where you have gained and continue to gain more and more recognition for your career as an artist exploring technology. What were some of the steps between those two points?


Lauren: Well, it's funny, you mentioned like invention, cause I remember had this little like kids like inventors kit or something as a kid. And I was when people ask what you want to be when you grow up. I always said an inventor and I remember one time, like my mom sat me down and was like an adventure is not really like a job title. It's like, and I think after that I was just totally lost for the next, I dunno, 10 years about what I wanted to be or would do through the point that I was like in college and studying computer science. And it was like the early, not early kind of mid two thousands, like just before the crash a lot. I mean, so many of the computer science majors and people I knew were just like going to work on wall street with that degree.


Lauren: And I was really uninspired by it and feeling super lost, like what am I going to do with this? And so like, luckily I stumbled into that art class and I think almost, you know, I was totally into that. And so I kind of like picked up the S the second major and almost out of necessity to try and graduate on time. I was like, okay, can I just take these two things and like shovel them together somehow and do like one thesis project instead of two. And so then in, in doing that or doing the research to try to figure out how I could, I realized there's this whole you know, field of people that were, were making work in that space. Yeah. And I guess from there, I, I don't know. I, I always feel like I'm like maybe there's some path that I'm supposed to be following that I'm just not aware of or just not doing. Right. so it really just feels like I, I'm just making things that are responding to how I'm feeling and then trying to find ways to put them out there. And like, if, if it doesn't work through some mainstream channel, it's just like, okay, I'll put it on Twitter, Instagram, or text it to my friends or whatever.


Roddy: I mean, that's, that's so interesting to think about, you know, someone at your level feeling as though there's still a field that you're trying to, you know, kind of connect to, or, or find your way in. And it's interesting, I guess also just to think about, you know, from, from my perspective so many of the artists who, who work in ways that you do around art and technology for, for lack of a better kind of descriptor often are actually kind of building the field that they're working in while they're working in it. And it, it seems as though that's, you know, something that, that maybe, you know, you've, you've experienced a little bit as well. Could you share a little bit about the forms that your work has taken since you kind of began that journey of just melding those worlds together and, and sort of what, what are some of the recurring themes that you've been over the last 10 years? Essentially,


Lauren: I guess for me, and I don't know if other people see my practices way, but it's so much, I'm so interested in performance and not just as like a medium, but I think in just in the way that we relate to one another, every day, it feels like it feels like a performance to me. Maybe other people have like less of that intensity of, of experience, but I'm always kind of like, what's the, did I miss the script? Am I missing a cue here? What am I not understanding? And so I kind of taking that approach of breaking it down, like a performance has helped me in my everyday life, but it's also been you know, the, the thing that I've been exploring in my work. So a lot of times there's there's some sort of a gesture or more specifically like a desire for some kind of interaction with people and I'm building the pieces around that.


Lauren: And so then out of the performance, it can take forms like film or photography or installation, or you know, there's a lot of software involved also. But yeah, and I mean, so the recurring themes beyond just these, like, I guess the way I think of it is I'm, I'm so interested in the, the kind of rules and systems that we build around ourselves. So there's all the social scripts are rules and systems, but there's also the technological ones. And I kind of see these like sort of grinding up against each other in some ways reinforcing in some ways like creating these, these disconnects. I'm, I'm always thinking, like what happens when you sort of introduce a glitch into either one of those into any of these systems, how does that kind of propagate and what what's the fallout from that? And does the followup have to be just uncomfortable or could it actually like open up a moment of awareness where like, oh, we could have a more real connection sort of just following all the rules here.


Roddy: You did a whole series of pieces that you called the Loren series, and I assume that's a play on the idea of Alexa or Siri or something like that. And in many ways you have become you've performed like a human embodiment of algorithms or AI from controlling people's living spaces to actually spending time in that space yourself.


Lauren: So in, in these performances, it, you know so it was a series of works and each one had a slightly different you know, kind of set up or premise. But the main idea was that I was on this quest to try to become Amazon Alexa. And so I would offer myself to to people's homes and set up devices and cameras and then control and also interact with them using this clone of my voice. So I, I mean, I was immediately one of my reasons for doing it was w well, there's a lot of reasons, but one of them was that I was kind of just jealous of Alexa. I was the way that, like, people would kind of bring Alexa into their home and give her this like, intimate, immediate access without even knowing having any prior relationship.


Lauren: And I felt like, wow, as someone that kind of stumbled at the first meeting of someone, I wish know, people just bring me into their home and like share their life with me. And so I just build the system and it's like, I kind of hacked it and they did. And so I was in there and I think one of the funniest and most interesting things of the series and a lot of my work is just like, we have one set of expectations about how to relate to software or to machines or algorithms. And it's those expectations are kind of taught or built in us by the technology that we interact with. You know, the literally say, you can say this or do this interact with me in this way. And then we have another set of expectations about how we can relate to her interact with other humans and what seems to be happening more and more is that like that line where you're not quite sure if it's human or, or algorithm or machine is blurring.


Lauren: And so then are we, we're kind of stuck in this area of like, how, how do I relate to you? What, what assumption can I make about just how human you are or how algorithmic you are? And so I felt that a lot from people that they were, you know, they understood that I was a human kind of performing as a AI, and then they were left in the space of, of, of navigating with me to try to figure out how we wanted to relate to each other in that sense. And I found that like they would bring a lot of things in, like, in terms of the language or the commands or the, the patterns of interaction, but they also like for example, they had a lot, I find that people in general were much more patient with me and they would deal with technology


Roddy: That raises so many poetic questions. And I really love the kind of poetic racism of your approach. And it also calls to mind just recently, I had a conversation with the artist Stelarc who from the eighties and nineties, you know, was doing very pushing his body's limits to capacity in terms of trying to understand what, you know, human evolution could be in relationship to machines. And one thing he said that really struck me, and I'm not even sure how I feel about it because it just feels almost overly provocative in some ways, but he really said a lot about his feelings that humans are essentially inadequate and that technology is the only way forward for human evolution to continue. I was sort of struck by that and I wonder what your response is to, to that kind of thought.


Lauren: Hmm. That's interesting. Yeah, I mean, it's still has been an artist that I followed since the beginning of my career. I guess it's I think it's true that there are things that we can do with technology and, and places that it will take us as humans that we couldn't get without it. I guess I'm always just thinking how much, I don't know. I guess for me, I feel like the technology it's us and not in the sense that like, oh, we're so melded now that like I'm part machine, part human. Although I think that is sort of true, but more that we we've made this technology. And the, you know, the thing that a human can, can do that an algorithm or a technology can't is that it can really reflect on, you know, I, I can reflect on my role in the world and then make values based choices about what I want to do next.


Lauren: And you know, some software systems can do that in theory, like you, they can, you can set up a system where the it's reflecting on past actions, but you have to program in those values or the, the things in which their decisions move. And yeah, so I, I don't think that like one is gonna, I don't think that technology is going to like run away without us. I think we are the ones that are, are building this stuff. And I think yeah, I think we have to take that responsibility really seriously. That's not you know, I feel like maybe there's starting to be more awareness now, but there was definitely has been a pervasive feeling of like, oh, it's either, you know, watching these like hearings of tech companies and things. It's like, oh, it's so big. It's so, you know, out of my control, I'm just a kid in my dorm room, like coding this thing, I don't know. It's like, you're not, you're not in your dorm room anymore. We have responsibilities here and there it is big and complicated, but it's also not beyond our ability to break it down and reflect on it if that's what we choose to do.


Roddy: Yeah. Yeah. Do you have a sense of in particular, our relationship with AI, what it offers us and what we may be giving up in exchange for what it's giving to us?


Lauren: Yeah, I mean, I think AI gives us a sort of like metacognition, like a real power to say, okay, let me say these are the things that I want to do either, like the goals I want to achieve or the, the, the pattern or the schedule that I want to have, and it can like totally take us in that direction. I think the, so I think that's what it offers is this kind of like increased ability to orient our lives and ourselves towards the things that we want. I think where it breaks down is the question of like, what do we want? Because often it's not, it's not like this, like let's sit down and have a conversation about what you're looking for in your life. It's trying to just like, read the patterns of what you're doing and maybe reproduce those which may not actually be what you want more of.


Lauren: So, and then there's a point at which it becomes a little bit more like, yeah, I guess the two, the two, like big worry points for me are one, like, what are the things that we're actually like seeding as the, the goals that these systems are propagating and reinforcing. And to, to what extent do we actually see the system working? Are we aware that it's happening? Right? Because I think there's also a danger when you're, you're not even aware sometimes that the, the thing is kind of pushing in a direction or augmenting you, you just understand that if like I'm just living my life, it's just how, you know, this is what I'm doing. Which I think makes it harder when you want to change course, cause it kind of takes away your sense of agency where you're like, well, I, I was already living my life with agency and it's not working when actually there were these other systems in the mix that some of them were totally invisible to you.


Roddy: That's what I love about your work is that I feel like it actually does open up those algorithms in such a way that you can't help become, but become very cognizant of the kinds of decisions that are getting made and how they're getting made. And, you know, I've, I've seen that and experienced it, you know in, in, in your practice and that performance of the algorithm, I think really just drives that home. And it in a really beautiful way. And I also am just so curious in those moments, when you really do take the role of the machine in performance and you become the human AI, what does that feel like? There must be experiences that you have in your sense of, you know, yourself or just emotionally or physically and so forth because sometimes your work involves endurance and in fact, even sleeping in people's yards, if I'm not mistaken and there's a whole host of feelings that I'm sure must sort of arise for you in those, how do you think about that and what are some of the things that you wish other people could feel where they to perform a machine themselves?


Lauren: That's a great question. And I think that's what I say, like for me, my performance or my practice comes down to performance. Like there, the, the, those, because those are the moments where no matter what I've planned or built or expected about this, there's just so much space for it, for the unexpected, both in what, how people might react and how we might interact, but also just like what I might feel. And some of the performances, like I don't have any interaction with the person at all. Like you mentioned sleeping in someone's yard, but like another one that comes to mind is when I was providing this like follower service or just follow-up all day. So with some people like a really intimate connection but we never had any physical or verbal or text-based or anything any kind of communication.


Lauren: It was all kind of imagined. And yeah, I mean, I think all of these performances it's like, it is trying to really directly like push myself out of some place, position of comfort in, in my own world to just destabilize that. So, you know, taking on the role of a machine or taking on any role that I'm performing, it's just setting up a different you know a different script or a different character. And, but still trying to operate as myself from within that. So it's not like a theater play where I'm just reading something. It's like, I'm still me, but now the, the parameters have changed. The technology, the system around me has, has changed or I've changed it. And a lot of times I feel like I'm like one thread of my practice is just like trying to almost like hack my way out of myself.


Lauren: And there are always these kinds of failed attempts. So for example, you know, I was talking about the Lauren performance where I was like, maybe this is a way that I can get close to people. And I had this moment and one of the first performances I did ride like set up the whole system. And then I'm like sitting there on my computer, outside their house, you know, in my own home. And I was having all these feelings like, oh, should I like say something to them? Should I do something? Am I, are they annoyed with the, do they wish I were wasn't here? And it's like all of the feelings that I have as a human that I had just like distributed in a complex system over their entire house. And I was like, this is, this is terrifying. Right. Yeah. So, but I mean, like I, a lot of these performances I'm trying to have like a really we're really like destabilize my grip on reality a little bit. And then it's a process of like putting it back together in a slightly different way until I feel stabilized and then trying to do it again.


Roddy: Right. Who do you see as your primary audience for that type of performance?


Lauren: These are great questions. One thing that, I mean, I think the audience is anyone that is up to participate and I say it like that because like, I'm really interested in reaching people that maybe aren't even into art. Aren't thinking about this as an art project, or just thinking about it as something that happens in their life. And that's one reason I'm often like kind of just putting things online or trying to work on other work through other systems that don't require some of the first, like enter in art space and then be able to encounter the work. And people come often when I have when people sign up for these performances, I'll ask, I'll have some question in the sign up form, which is like, why didn't you, why do you want to do this? And the, the answers are so varied.


Lauren: They're just all over the place. And I'm usually picking the people that kind of have an interesting answer that I'd like to explore that. But I think there's also different levels of audience with the work. So, you know, the most extreme or intense version is actually doing these performances. And a lot of them require a lot of vulnerability and a leap of faith on the part of the participant. So that's its own experience. Sometimes it's durational lasts for a day or a week or so, or a lifetime, depending on which piece we're talking about. But I, I don't think that everyone has to have that experience to like, you know, that's, that's one part of the project. And then there are these like videos or artifacts that I create that people can see and they can understand what, what the pieces and a lot of it for in that audience is about the imagination of it.


Lauren: So sometimes we'll have like a sign up form and it's, regardless of whether people sign up or not, it's about that kind of question of like, do you want to engage in this? Would you want to do this? Why or why not? Yeah. And then I think there's like even a third layer, which is like, when these things become, if they become sort of like viral, you know, interventions in the media, which some will do, people might not register it at all as an art piece, they're just kind of like scrolling, maybe it shows up on their feed, it passes by maybe it's six in their head or not, or they see like a article in the news media or something. And that's like an even, you know, lower touch experience of it. But like, I'm sort of interested in the ways of different if it functions for those different audiences.


Roddy: That's one of the things that I think is so beautiful about the field of art and technology in general is that it often can function in those kind of multiplicity of ways that doesn't necessarily contain it to just like a narrow art world, you know, whatever that means, you know, per se or or a technology world. And that there is kind of resonance with just the, any human who's, you know, thought about what it means to have an Alexa system installed in their home or even more so maybe, or just the light the last 18 months when suddenly the whole world is on zoom. I couldn't help. But think about your work a number of times, especially over the last couple of years. And I just wonder if there's been a new type of recognition for some of the questions that your work is asking as the world has moved into this highly digitally mediated space of the moment.


Lauren: Yeah, it's definitely been causing me to reflect on it. I mean, right before the pandemic, I was doing all these performances of like staring through a video feed into someone's home. And then that became like my everyday reality and I had to find something else to do. I can't do this anymore. It's going to drive you crazy. Yeah. on the other hand, like I got to bring back some of the, like the following performance at the time when like everything was distanced. I got to


Roddy: Share more about that following performances.


Lauren: Yeah, definitely. So that was like an earlier work. I think I started around 2015 maybe. And it was basically a service where you get a follower for a day, a real life follower. And usually that follower's me. And so it was sort of app based and it would, it would, you know, broadcast your GPS, but then I would go physically find you and track you down the street and we'd have no interaction just that, that act of following. So there's definitely references there to, you know, other artists that have, have worked with following in different ways, but there's also this, for me, it was a lot about like, what, what is this real life following or this physical engagement compared to a virtual follower of mine and this tension between feeling like, you know, surveillance is kind of overwhelming and, and something I want to get away from, but also I want to feel seen.


Lauren: So yeah, I think got to bring that back a little bit during the pandemic and, and do some following, but also I had, I worked with people in different locations to run their own versions of it cause I couldn't travel. And so that, that was really I don't know, that was sort of special for me, but I mean more, more personally working on things over the past 18 months, I felt like there was a big shift for me. I have some like larger ongoing projects, but I was really like feeling like I needed to be working in a way that was like responding more quickly and just like doing gestures that were like slightly less resolved. And just kind of like, I would sit down and be like, you know, feeling very emotional someday. You'd be like, what do I need right now? I need to feel like I exist. Like I, I have a body, like I can talk to, like I can, whatever the thing was. And then I would kind of make a performance from that and, you know, just send it over a text message or Instagram or something and like get people immediately around me to, to hopefully participate


Roddy: Given the amount of time and just the really unique approach that you've taken to working inside and around technology. What is something that you wish everyone knew about your human relationship to technology that, that perhaps they don't, if they haven't done the kind of work that you have?


Lauren: Yeah. at first I feel like I'm still learning. I don't know, but I, but then my immediate second thought is the thing that I wish people could feel more was a sense of, of agency over all of this or a sense that they can participate in it. I think there are so many narratives around like, oh, that's just like, Saifai complicated technology. Or like, literally, like I can't open my iPhone unless I like, if I do, I'll like void the warranty immediately. So all of these, these black boxes, these systems set up to say like, you don't belong here. You can't know what's inside. You are just a user, you're not a contributor or an agent in this. And I don't think that's true. Like, I, I definitely have a unique perspective on it. Kind of going deep in the code and just like hacking so many different technologies in different ways.


Lauren: But I think that this is something that anybody can do is, you know, misusing the, the tool that you're giving, deciding not to use it, thinking about you know, how it's affecting you and whether you want to engage with that, like setting boundaries on things sharing your opinion about them. And it just feel like so much of it comes so quickly that there's like, you just have to, you're supposed to immediately be outraged or buy something or, or like something. And I guess what I'm really hoping that we'll get from the work that I'm making is like just the space to like take a moment and, and reflect on it and, and acknowledge that it is these aren't like black or white things. They're, they're, they're complicated, but we are also complicated and we can engage with that and figure out what we like when we don't like, those are like very human capabilities that we all have, and then they don't go out the window when we're using technology. Yeah.


Roddy: That's so well said. And I completely agree. And it also brings to mind a lot of the work that you've done with, with processing and also the processing foundation. Could you share a little bit about what processing is and perhaps even your kind of institutional relationship with that organization?


Lauren: Yeah. So processing is a project that was started by Ben find Casey Reese like 20 years ago. And the idea at that time was to try to make code as easy to use as like sketching in a notebook for an artist or designer. So it was largely about, you know, just opening access to the things, kind of what we were just talking about. And then I got involved around 2013 working on a project called P five which was like a job web based or JavaScript based version of processing. And I put a lot of energy. Like I think my focus was a little bit you know, just in a slightly different direction from, from where they started, which was saying, okay, we're S you know, this, this project is born out of a desire to, to open access.


Lauren: How do we like continue to push that forward today in 2013? What does that mean? Who is not participating here? What are the barriers how do we, how do we think really deeply about inclusion and access and these, this tool that we're building? And it's one of the big parts of that project for me, was thinking about not just having like a diverse set of users using the tool, but who's actually making it whose perspectives are being represented in this tool, that's then going out and like shaping the lives or the creativity of, of people engaging with it. And so a lot of my work with P five and with the processing foundation has been trying to like lower that barrier to entry for people that would like to contribute and make tools. And to say that it's, you know, that doesn't have to just be writing like super advanced core code. It doesn't actually have to be writing code at all. You could be documenting, you could be illustrating, you could be teaching or organizing. And all of these are parts of making technology and making tools that other artists can use.


Roddy: You know, a lot of times people in the fields that we work in, there's a huge emphasis on the future. And a lot of discussion is, is, is about what people like yourself might, you know, sort of see coming down the road. And I sometimes wonder with all of that emphasis on the future that we're missing, perhaps the changes that are happening in the present moment or the near past. And I wonder if you would agree with that or how you see the world and its relationship to technology, particularly AI, do you get a sense that things are and have changed tectonically over the last years and are we fully accounting for those changes?


Lauren: Yeah, that's a huge question. I love that you, you talk about the future though, cause we were just talking about P five and one of the guiding guide points for this project and community has been this community statement that we drafted in 2015 and the last line. So it has different parts and it says like w what we're doing in practice and what happens in times of conflict for the last two lines are in the future. The future is now. And I remember someone like put that in and I was like, oh yeah, that's bold. Sure. But it's, it's continued to feel really, I think what you're saying is like really resonating with me. One thing that I get kind of, that I felt very confused about thinking about the future and the past and the present and everything, especially over the last year and a half has been you know, what is our relationship to time and how do we work best?


Lauren: Like I, I really felt a sense of urgency to respond or an opportunity, like things are shifting in a way that maybe we can push through some different ideas, but, but some of those ideas, some of those things we really want to see in the world take time. And so I guess, and I think some changes were made because a lot of people have been taking the time over years to really imagine what they wanted. And when there was a time or a moment to make some changes, they were ready and they knew what they wanted to do. So I, when I'm back to your question about the future, I mean, I think it's this balance of taking the time right now to be kind of laying the groundwork and building that foundation so that when, when opportunities for ships do open up, we're ready to, to do that rather than feeling like, oh, what should we do now? Something, you know, and just kind of flailing. But at the same time, recognizing that, that it's not that work that you're doing kind of building and preparing or learning and iterating and prototyping. Like that's not just for some future date that is, that has your practice. That is our life, right. What were we could be done next week. So let's hope we're like embracing this process also. Yeah.


Roddy: Yeah. I hear you. And that's, that's really well said, I guess finally maybe a simpler question to answer what are you working on now and what's, what's next for you?


Lauren: Yeah, I wish that was simpler. I've been working for the, you know, so a lot of these projects we've talked about are, are ongoing with the series over the pandemic. I've got really interested in sound. And so I've been, I have more things kind of coming in that realm, thinking about sound and voice in the way that you know, algorithms plan to that also. But the, the other thing has been this project about reproduction that I've been kind of working on for a couple of years now. And that's definitely in terms of like disabling your grasp on anything. That's definitely been doing that for me. So I, I won't go deep into the project, but I'm, I'm trying to get it to a point where I don't know, I can share it with more, with more people, so it's not just me working on it, but the, the central questions are, are kind of about what are all the different ways that we intervene or, or attempt to in this reproductive process in terms of human reproduction what is becoming possible with technologies like CRISPR and gene editing and DNA analysis and things like that.


Lauren: How much control should we have over a body you know birthing person's body or, or over a life before it's born. And just how, what is, what is family, how, how do we understand Ken? How do we understand our relationships to each other? And how do all the different technologies that are involved in the process of making people play into that or change it?


Roddy: I remember her mentioning that project when she visited New York last year, I think during a residency at pioneer works here in Brooklyn, and it really fired my imagination. I'm so excited to see what comes of it, and I can't wait to see what Lauren does next until next time. Thanks for joining me at Informer. And I hope that you'll join us again.




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