Deletions and Other Pleasures

Christy Dena |

This creative response began as a completely different story and form. What excited me in the end was the concept of deletion and how it could be an interesting mechanic: where the only thing you can do in the world is delete. I thought about deleting parts of robots to make them better. Healing comes from taking away, from removing things.

Memories of Joseph Weizenbaum’s chatbot ELIZA came flooding back: where the (human) player is a patient talking to a Rogerian psychotherapist. But in this work I’m switching the roles and making the player the doctor, a doctor to robots…a doctor that can only prescribe deletions.

I conceived of the work as a branching narrative, and started writing it in Twine. With every robot patient, the player chose one of many deletions. But when I realised I wouldn’t be able to arrange an artist and sound designer I looked for another option. I played with Zeega and felt that I could get the mood I was after with that platform. So the piece transformed into a work where the player/viewer is imprisoned in the decisions of the deleting protagonist…which has its own effect on the experience and meaning.

 

 View the full page Zeega here

 

One thought on “Deletions and Other Pleasures

  1. Christy Dena’s online-remix-narrative takes iconic images of popular culture and builds with them a strange world where the human fallibility is programmatically deleted. Both dystopic and playful, Dena’s work is an ironic reimagining of pleasure as a state of robotic flatlining, using tropes of science fiction to critique processes of social normalisation and increasing alienation from emotionality.

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