Autocorrect Fails Statement
Currently I am working on Autocorrect Fails : a text based embroidery series that addresses the odd bias and culture of technology and social engagement.
To create each piece I solicit donations of autocorrect fails and embroider the phrases onto vintage stitch kits. The donation process occurs sometimes thru social media, sometimes in person, and sometimes via my donation box that I install at various locations like galleries and exhibitions. These phrases come from friends and family but just as often from strangers. This engagement is an important part of the process for me. Then, using embroidery, I pair the phrases with vintage stitch kits that I source from second hand shops.
The imagery of the stitch kits is also important. The stitch kits are all from the crafting fad in the seventies. Most of the fabric and packaging are stamped with nostalgic imagery. The kits were sold as an all in one package to beautify a home. In some ways, the kits sold as promise to create a perfect world within an imperfect one. Forty years later, I aim to dismantle the idyllic scenes thru my text overlay and phrase choices.
The third component of my work are the phrases created by the autocorrect program. Several facets of Autocorrect, which is now installed on most cell phones and tablets, are incredibly intriguing. Foremost, it is a universal experience. It is changing our language and social engagement. Yet it is an imp of an application, creating small daily annoyances, hindering and changing our efforts at communication, and revealing how the tool of technology changes us. The autocorrect program perpetuates some surprising cultural biases. These are significant in that the program is both universal and innocuous. In my pairing process, I attempt to highlight the oddness and often even prejudice of the word choice substitution of the autocorrect program. Frequently the result is humorous but with a dark undercurrent. The pieces have a quick wit, and the speed of the stitching and pairing is parallel to the speed of the texting conversations where autocorrect thrives.
Each piece develops its own meaning. Some are lighter in tone while others have strong racial or gender innuendo. For these ones I work to exaggerate the discomfort that Autocorrect creates with the phrases. I try to address the larger biases at play within our culture that makes the word choice seem so jarring. I feel humor can create an opening for important dialog, which is such a strong current in our country right now. My work as a whole is about the oddness of our language and how a biased algorithm can disrupt something that is already both specific and easily misinterpreted. This series analyzes the nuance of electronic (mis)communication thru a very slow and old medium of needlework. In a microcosmic way, my work draws attention to some much larger issues in the tech culture.