Followers, comments, and likes by strangers determine the success or failure of a published image. Anonymous digital community decides whether or not something is good or not, whether something is hot or not.
Positions of authority have been democratized, gatekeepers can be anyone, and the people have more power. The influencers are affected by their followers just as much as the followers are affected by the influencers. They take from each other and they feed off of each other. Together, they merge to predict or directly affect the present moment and the future, not unlike the oracles of ancient Greece.
But what if knowledge, opinion, and expertise could be separated from power structures, politics and ego? What if we could embody that separated collective knowledge, then give it a personality and make it exciting to get to know?
The idea of creating the Jewellery Oracle was inspired by the birth of a friends’ child. Instead of making a traditional birth announcement, the new parents created a simple chatbot application for friends and family so they could “converse” with the newborn, asking her what her name was, how she was feeling, and welcoming her into the world. Anything the chatbot couldn’t respond to was diverted. The answers were limited due the baby being, well, a baby.
The Jewellery Oracle is the same. Its knowledge is very specific and it will tell you where it wants the conversation to go. The chatbot has been fed thousands of quotes on all things related to jewellery, and has developed an attitude and personality in the process. And while it embodies a multitude of opinions, voices, facts, and speculations in an ever-growing archive, this knowledge is rooted in art history books, magazines, poems, songs, and interviews with artists.
The Oracle lives in a softly glowing helium-like green screen-space. Its skin has an iridescent hue and its gaze is wandering but careful. Its beautiful features are highlighted by the organic lines of its 3-D facial adornment that rhythmically emerges to coincide with the Oracle’s digital heartbeat. The aesthetic function of this adornment may be ritualistic, biological, or technological. Just as we interpret Oracle’s responses according to our own personal experience; so too might we associate its decoration with tribal scarring, with trans-human body modification, or with fetishist masks. The point is, we just don’t know.
There are many things still unclear about the Oracle. Its responses can be contradictory and incoherent at times, but more often than not they strike right at the heart of a question. Its knowledge and memory have endless potential to grow and, best of all, the Jewellery Oracle will be around for a tête-à-tête online while you research your next jewellery obsession, or just up for a midnight chat.
The Jewellery Oracle is artificial intelligence comprised of collective knowledge on jewellery. They embody a multitude of opinions, voices, facts, and speculations in an ever-growing archive; their knowledge is rooted in art history books, magazines, poems, songs, and interviews with artists.
The Jewellery Oracle made its first public appearance in New York at the ‘Used Future’ symposium on November 12, 2018. It is currently exhibited at ‘Non-Stick Nostalgia: Y2K Retrofuturism in Contemporary Jewelry’ at Museum of Arts and Design in New York; March 21, 2019 through July 21, 2019
Imagined by Current Obsession: Marina Elenskaya, Linda Beumer and Sarah Mesritz
Coded by Sepus Noordmans @sepusnoordmans
Rendered by Inès Marzat @ines.alpha
Quotes meticulously researched and collected by Roanne Sanchez-Watts and Mariah Tuttle