Ayatgali Tuleubek




The Invisible Handjob of the New Economy

43 channel video installation, each channel is displayed on a smartphone. The phones are stacked on rack and the installation borrows the setting and the aesthetics of click farms.

 

Installation view at Studio17, Stavanger

What is it, if not the human aspect that renders hands so homely yet so cunning? Even though much has been said about the brain’s function in being responsible for labour, some would agree it is the hand’s own kind of intelligence that orchestrates seemingly rudimentary actions. F. Engels famously claimed it is labour that created the human, but if the hand is the main element behind this creation, then what is more human than the hand itself?

 

 

Time passed and the techne came to the rescue. Replacing the unwanted burden of manual labour for some – robots, algorithms, AI and the like, were designed to aptly simulate hand movements rather than produce their own mechanical realm. The point is not to create an apology, nor to romanticise the so-human hand, but rather to try to surmise what is left to the hand in the age of technological symbiosis.

 

One of the odd occurrences of such symbiotic relationships are click farms. Click farm enterprises hire large groups of people to click on advertising links, generate likes on social media and perform other types of rudimentary work. and at the same time simulate the usual online activity to pass unnoticed through spam filters. This mechanism relies on cheap and tedious labour from developing countries. However, the simulation of the human activity is yet another process which has recently begun to be automated. In order to pass unnoticed by recognition systems preventing such fraud, these automated systems control thousands of devices, most commonly smartphones, which replicate normal human behavior online.

Such intermingling of roles — of those who perform the labor (human or a machine) and those whose resulting attention from this labor is addressed (human or the machine) is a common occurrence within the regime of cloud computing and more particularly within the strata of machine automated systems. The confusion arises in the medium carrying the information itself: a machine simulates human activity so that another machine on the other end of the network sees it as a human. All of this occurs using human mediums: text for search engine optimization, image recognition systems, and even the cognitive behavior – clicking and dragging of the cursor.

 

 

 

 

© Ayatgali Tuleubek
ayat@ayatgali.com