Nadine Lessio's Working with Useless Machines is a video artwork. The work documents a critical design project exploring some speculative and humorous thoughts around what happens when smart devices go against their intended functionality.
Focusing specifically on developing routines for the Alexa and Google Home, the project considered personal assistants that have emotions, internal motivations and control over their direct physical environment to express themselves. This leads to many unexpected interactions and behaviours.
The goal of the project is to critique the current corporate placement of these devices as helpful, by exploring the idea that as systems become more autonomous, they may not necessarily have our best interests in mind.
Alongside the the video art, in workshops with Leicester-based schools, children have responded to a brief to develop their own “useless machines” that reflect the artist’s goal. A selection of these are also on display.
As part of the ART AI Festival 2019 artwork trail, Working with Useless Machines is on display at Haymarket Theatre, 1 Garrick Walk, Leicester, LE1 3AF (first floor) - download map. Alongside the artwork, after 22 May, a selection of Useless Machines, created in workshops by local school children, taking place during the festival and which will be featured on the blog.