In The Company Of Bots

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In The Company Of Bots
Creator Cristina Lavinia Cochior
Year 2016
Bio Cristina Cochior (RO) is a researcher, designer and bot custodian working in the Netherlands. Her interests revolve around automation practices, disruption of the interface and peer to machine knowledge production.

Bots operate at the intersection of technical infrastructure and social superstructure. Although they follow strict rules dictated by platform specificity, their status of autonomy sets them apart from regular tools. Wikipedia bots, especially, are measured in terms of utility.

Often these bots' role becomes obfuscated through the process of anthropomorphisation, despite the fact that they are defined by their purpose within the community. In situations when the bot is no longer useful, the machine on which it was once hosted is not in service anymore, or their operator no longer has the time to maintain it, the bot will be 'retired'. The humanizing effect of such language points out to a deeper question: what is the purpose of the bot after it has fulfilled its job? What can the bot tell us about the community it was once a part of?

In the Company of Bots shows an anthropological interest in the life of the algorithmic workers maintaining the largest collaborative encyclopaedia. The work is envisioned as several collections part of a(n un)natural history museum setting, where the bots are displayed according to their materiality. Their performativity is firstly embodied through the contributions made to the platform, and secondly through their pictorial representation.