Let me into your home: artist Lauren McCarthy on becoming Alexa for a day

The Guardian

In a gallery in downtown Manhattan, people are huddling around four laptops, taking turns to control the apartments of 14 complete strangers. They watch via live video feeds, and respond whenever the residents ask "Someone" to help them. They switch the lights on and off, boil the kettle, put some music on – whatever they can do to oblige. The project, called Someone, is the latest in a series exploring our ever more complicated relationship with technology. It's by the American artist Lauren McCarthy and is a sort of outsourcing of Lauren, an earlier work in which she acted as a real-life Alexa, remotely watching over a home 24 hours a day, responding to its occupants' questions and needs like a flesh and blood version of Amazon's voice-operated virtual assistant.


Four people are allowing strangers to control their smart homes

Engadget

For the next seven weeks, anyone who's inclined can go to 205 Hudson Street in New York City and take over someone else's apartment. Smart devices like the kettles, lighting and speakers of four homes connect directly to laptops in the corner of an art gallery. Cameras are trained on bathrooms, kitchens and living areas. Visitors can sit down and become a human Alexa, playing music, eavesdropping on conversations through microphones and communicating with the inhabitants via text-to-speech. Each home -- three in Brooklyn, one in San Francisco -- will be "live" for two hours a day.


'The Walking Dead' star Lauren Cohan also slated for ABC's new 'Whiskey Cavalier'

Los Angeles Times

Though "The Walking Dead" is notorious for killing off beloved characters -- Maggie's husband Glenn Rhee (Steven Yeun) was bludgeoned to death two seasons ago by Negan, the sadistic villain played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan -- Cohan will return for Season 9, which is currently in production.


Would you let an algorithm manage your relationships?

#artificialintelligence

"I had this everyday feeling – stress about not properly articulating my emotions in my emails to people," artist and writer Joanne McNeil tells me over the phone from Boston. "I was feeling as though I had to over-do it with enthusiasm or I would sound too sarcastic or bleak or disinterested." It's a common anxiety of modern day life: in an age where we increasingly communicate via email, text messages, and social media posts instead of face-to-face, it can be hard to judge whether we are getting the tone right. Are we being too formal? Are we being too familiar?


Camille Laurens's "Little Dancer Aged Fourteen" Is a Fascinating Hybrid, and Obsessed with Obsession

The New Yorker

Obsession is unhealthy, and it is maybe imperative to the creation of art, which is all that needs be said about that profession. Good artists transform private obsession into something that can be shared: Nicholson Baker on John Updike, John McPhee on geology, Karl Ove Knausgaard on himself, or the French writer Camille Laurens on Edgar Degas, the (sort of) subject of her new book, "Little Dancer Aged Fourteen." Look past the earnest subtitle ("The True Story Behind Degas's Masterpiece"), because this isn't a book about the truth, and it's an open question whether the titular art work--a sculpture of a ballerina, hands clasped behind her back--is a masterpiece at all. "Little Dancer Aged Fourteen" is a strange hybrid of art history and art appreciation, a personal narrative that reads like a novel. I have no interest in the Impressionists (Laurens says that the artist himself disliked the moniker, proposing instead the frankly horrible "Intransigents"), but the author's obsession is, if not contagious, at least fascinating.