[ISEA97] Artist Statement: Greg Garvey – Genderbender

Artist Statement

Genderbender and the Virtual Personality: Scavenging the Trash Heap of the History of Psychological Testing GENDERBENDER (Release 1.0) is loosely based on the Bern Sex Role Inventory (BSRI) (1974) and Alan Turing’s test for Artificial Intelligence. GENDERBENDER allows a user to self-administer a gender test in order to construct a personal gender profile of 20 masculine, feminine or neutral traits. The BSRI of 1974 is a self-administered 60-item questionnaire, containing a Masculinity scale and a Femininity Scale with 20 neutral items as filler. It is a kind of time capsule giving insight into how notions of gender are mutable. When personality traits become reduced to and locked in algorithmic descriptions those chosen traits almost inevitably reflect the biases and cliches of what is considered ‘normal.’The Morph-o-meter and the Tile-o-matic give instant feedback on whether masculine or feminine characteristics predominate in the user’s personality by morphing towards a identifiably male or female visual representation. The Tile-o-matic will reveal each user’s video image tile by tile for each yes response. Based on the user’s responses the “Computer Psychologist” will display the message “You are a man!” or “You are a woman!” or “You are androgynous!”. Future releases will introduce a two player internet version and the creation of an on-line avatar that reflects the gender profile that the user gives it. This avatar can act as a gendered knowbot that will visit chat groups, perform searches and report back to it’s master and perhaps provide links for actual meat and flesh encounters.

  • Gregory P. Garvey (Canada) is Associate Professor, Chair of the Department of Design Art and Coordinator of the Digital Image /Sound Program at Concordia University in Montreal. He was a member of the Artistic Organizing Committee for ISEA95 in Montreal and Co-Chaired the Conference Committee with Cynthia Beth Rubin. His inter­active installation, Automatic Confession Machine: A Catholic Turing Test was first exhibited at SIGGRAPH’93 and FISEA’93 (ISEA93) in Minneapolis, and more recently the SMART STALL was exhibited at SIGGRAPH’96 in New Orleans. Mr. Garvey previously lived and taught in Boston, and was a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at MIT.