What I always wanted to tell you but never dared
What I always wanted to tell you but never dared is a mail art project that uses and misuses familiar and commonplace Artificial Intelligence tools to explore technology as an extension of our Self.
This on-going body of work started when the artist accidentally pressed several consecutive times the predictive text bar while typing a message on her smart phone and noticed that through the mechanical gesture of her hand on the screen, the phone was composing “by itself” full sentences grammatically correct in their structure. The repetitive quasi-automatic movement she was monotonously performing contrasted with the original text that was digitally composed on the screen - a text mediated by the phone’s artificial intelligence. The virtual machine had been learning from the artist’s everyday written communications and was now trying to mimic at its best her style, appropriating her most used vocabulary turns of phrases and topics discussed in an attempt to predict her next words. This parapraxis was shedding light in a somehow disturbing way the complex - man versus machine - dialectic as the phone had been anticipating the artist’s next words without her consent.
Fascinated by this casual though very personal manifestation of the machine’s ability to learn, Kosmatopoulos started asking random people met on and offline to perform the same mechanical act. The text obtained would then be transcribed by hand into a physical letter, signed, and then sent to the artist’s mail address. Every letter is the result of this collaboration between the artist, the participant, and its own phone, where each component had a very distinct role: the content of the letter was solely dictated by the predictive function of each given participant’s smart phone; while the length of the text, format of the letter, choice of paper or pen were left at the discretion of the author of each letter, the only requirement being to follow the rules defined by the artist and start the letter with “Dear Esmeralda,” copy the content provided by his/her own phone’s predictive typing software and then sign and mail it.
In the installation space, twenty of the letters along with the mailing envelops are displayed inside identical float frames, forming a geometrically structured grid. There again the display process set by the artist remains very rigorous and rational, while the content and the form of each letter was unique and attached to its author. These messages composed by the individuals’ streams of thoughts created somehow surrealist messages. One could compare these letters to automatic writing or exquisite corpse games used by the Surrealists, which was revealing words claimed to emerge from the subconscious.
2017 “‘What I always wanted to tell you but never dared’’ curated by Clémence Mailly, Parasol Project, New York, United Stated