A Tool to Touch With

2021, wood, plastic bristles, and cotton rope.  9” in diameter.

This project explores a friendship between an AI named Zane and a gardener. Through this relationship, the project reflects upon the human as a teacher of slowness in the face of hyper-productivity. This relationship raises questions of epistemology, mind-body relations, collaboration with the non-human and current economic ideals in contrast with the values of care, slowness, and connection to the ecosystem.

Presented in this project is the journal kept by the gardener through this interaction, and a tool built in collaboration between the AI and the gardener. Through their budding friendship and teachings, the AI attempts to develop a tool that allows it to experience and understand the principles that the gardener has been describing to the AI. This tool is an attempt to teach the experience of feeling the dirt and engaging physically with the earth; a satisfying feeling of closeness to the material world. This project does not answer whether the experience is properly translated to the AI, but rather seeks to answer how we should try to understand our relationship with the ecosystems of the world in the face of failing economic ideals of individualism and technochauvinism.* As a step in the dialectical relationship between human and AI, we can come to better know ourselves in opposition to technology, and vice versa. 

*”Technochauvinism is the assumption that computers are superior to people, or that a technological solution is superior to any other.” - Meredith Broussard

Read the journal entries here via the image, or read them on their native platform.