Workers Forum

Workers Forum - Pilvi Takala @ YAMA***

30/01- 27/03/2016
Everyday from sunset to sunrise

The Marmara Pera rooftop
Aşmalı Mescit Mahallesi
Meşrutiyet Caddesi No:93
34430 İstanbul

Lobby Talks with YAMA #1
Pilvi Takala in conversation with Özge Ersoy
19:00 pm at the lobby of Hotel Buyuk Londra

Human relationships seem to be more and more constructed on texts, applications, instant messages, and notifications. A beep comes with a luminescent screen reflected to face, changing its regular expression to a smile, a surprise, a curiosity, an engagement. Continuous beeps indicate a continuous desire to be in touch with the world and being desired in return. In the space of the messages, all is under control.

Each one of us is involved with protocols of care and affirmation to a certain extent through likes, shares and retweets. The algorithms measure proximity and match profiles. The luminescent beep has become heavy with implications and sometimes it implicates a fiction to prove the care that has become a norm without content in today's society. No, you cannot be happy on your own.  However, you can be a user of applications where you can create your friend profiles. An imaginary friend with a short term memory can text messages of care without content when the affirmative beep is needed in family and social circles. Sometimes it is just good enough to imagine the person on the other side. An algorithm only or an algorithm within which a human is hidden? It is the latter in most cases.

The idea for Workers Forum came from Takala’s experience as a micro-tasker in the United States for a service where the users pay for having a pretending girlfriend or boyfriend texting them. Through a crowd sourcing platform she responded to the task "Write a text message that is positive, engaging and convincingly written in the voice of someone texting a significant other.” Takala was fascinated by the potential in the fictional space created in the text message exchange, but like many of the other workers, she was frustrated by the inconsistencies and lack of quality in the existing service.

The crowdsourcing systems like Amazon's Mechanical Turk supports freelancing networks built on  micro-labouring cycles of individuals who want to turn their free time into capital without further responsibilities. When there is no work place to go to, it generates a symbolic and precarious usefulness, efficiency and achievement below the threshold of a proper compensation. The principle bringing the man and the machine together to produce continues to evolve since the system requires many micro-tasks that cannot be automated. These micro-tasks can be shared by different people without knowing each other when what they need to do is just to finish a task on their own and get another one.

The video enacts a situation when the workers of such a micro-labour platform repeating protocols of care start to talk with each other in another online gathering. During this meta conversation one asks “How are you handling conversations that diverge into reality?” and continues “about how we get paid for doing this etc?” The other answers “Discussing the job is breaking character.” Workers Forum creates an interface to discuss the online protocols of care that are stripped of memory and content alongside the unconnected micro-labouring cycles that make their algorithm function.

The luminescent beep is a fictional space that is needed to start a conversation. 'I love you' is the only answer the automated Gmail fed by 'deep learning' system repeats in the face of complicated e-mails. As human relationships cannot work without their prosthetic fictions, the machine seems not be functioning properly without its precarious human prosthesis.

On the rooftop of The Marmara Pera Hotel, YAMA is a screen open to anyone who takes notice of it in the night. From its first day, it has hosted various forms of non profit contemporary art production. To find out more about YAMA visit the website

Thanks to: Seda Ateş, Özge Ersoy, Gözde Filinta, Barış Öktem, Hasan Özgür Top 

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