Divination

A Romantic Mutiny in a Maelstrom of Data

FRIGGIN' RIGGIN'

Pyrate Queen pistol

A networked performance installation
by Nancy Mauro-Flude.

Presented by Contemporary Art Tasmania and Dark Mofo 2016

A 21C Dada WIFI Salon

Nancy Mauro-Flude’s *Divination* is a live performance installation. *Divination* highlights the high accessibility to so-called private data, _Divination_ - traditionally a method of visualising the unseen - offers an alternative view of the information we transmit on a daily basis. Audiences will be chaperoned by human and non-human agents (that is, ‘chatbots’) called Pirate Girls, through an energetic collision of nautical mythology, computer culture and transgressive fiction. This performance explores our relationship with mysterious or communal forces and how they relate to 21C mass electronic surveillance programs. You 'the audience' [remote or local] are invited to think about the delphic relationship you may have with networks, signals, codes and other things you can not fully comprehend, but may opt in to. The modern Pyrate Queen, is not asking for gold to attend - but your data for the crews collective treasure chest - in order to steer the show. By actively operating a network as a performance tool, the artwork interrupts the flow of user experience illuminating the complexity of uninformed consent strategies. Using distributed network of WiFi access points and social media bots, the artwork collects information about its audience and generates audio-visual experience. Watch a trailer 3 min video.

BUILT USING: OpenWRT custom firmware
Modified captive portal (Wifidog)
Websockets JSON streaming for PureData

PROGRAMME

Performance
The maiden voyage performance of Pyrate Queen and her crew, set sail for the duration of Dark Mofo --> 10-19 June <--

--> Location: Dark Park Goods Shed <--

For the non human performance, audiences were encouraged to register for the event.

All are encouraged to register, as after registration the remote performance begins – a conversation with the pirate girl chatbots forms a sea of data around a ship wreck and allows the Pyrate Queen to navigate her ship through these coded constellations.

*Divination* Pirate Girls wade through network traffic leaving a glowing dystopia of exploited data in their wake. Divination is traditionally is a method of visualising events that are not immediately physically observable. The artwork *Divination* highlights the ease of access to so-called private data and offers an alternative view of information we transmit on a daily basis.

Audiences are chaperoned by human and nonhuman Pirate Girls through an energetic collision of sea shanties, nautical mythology, computer culture & transgressive fiction.

Encounters with Pirate Girls happen remotely - before, during and after - the maiden voyage via email and txt by registering. The audience network traffic feeds into the artwork. The event will explore bot behaviour and satire of non human actors who manifest as pirate girls.

By actively operating a network as a performance tool, the artwork interrupts the flow of our _user experience_ illuminating the complexity of uninformed consent strategies. Pirate girls as chatbots highlight how technical agents that observe and act performatively have become increasingly inconspicuous. Reappraising privacy through a performative lens, the work exploits the _opts in_ strategies of consumer culture. (There are many ways we willingly sacrifice privacy in exchange for convenience and leave data trails behind: Facebook, Instagram, Loyalty Cards, Terms of Use, Location Tracking). These trails are revealed as visualized data constellations which allow the Pyrate Queen to navigate her ship.

The artwork is a complex puzzle and yet despite this *Divination* oreientates audience towards formidable subject – the strategies of espionage and intelligence agencies. Paradoxically, the Pyrate Queen places herself and us (as artist and audience) in positions oddly analogous to these. Divination trawls through data, metadata, analytics and profiling. You may even find yourself trying to make sense of what is actually at stake when a chatbot – masquerading as a pirate girl – is scripted to remix poetry.

DIVINATION is presented by Contemporary Art Tasmania and Dark Mofo 2016.

Contemporary Art Tasmania is supported by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its principle arts funding body, and the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian, State and Territory Government and is assisted through Arts Tasmania by the Minister for the  Arts.

Divination has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.

The project has been supported through Arts Tasmania by the Minister for the Arts. The Regional Arts Fund is an Australian Government initiative supporting the arts in regional and remote Australia delivered in partnership with Tasmanian Regional Arts. 

Contemporary Art Tasmania Australia Council for the Arts Australian Government Regional Arts Fund Tasmanian Regional Arts and Tasmanian Government Dark Mofo 2016 HCC LOGO Miss Despoinas LOGO Norwegian University of Science and Technology
water and skulls beneath the pirate ship